Ralph's Daily Devotional - Wednesday, July 25

The next commandment is adultery (Exodus 20:14).  Despite what many read in novels and see in movies, extra-marital affairs are most often not the blissful swinging relationships portrayed, but rather they almost always take a huge emotional toll on people in the form of pain and guilt.  It is the children who suffer especially from adultery since many of these affairs tragically end in a ruined marriage.

If you're the one who is single and the person you're having an affair with is married, chances are you will be hurt most, because often the married person will break off the relationship to avoid scandal and the potential for divorce, as well as their children being hurt.  Few affairs end with a new and better marriage for both, since often the guilt and distrust is now carried into this new marriage. 

It takes a great amount of energy to hide a secret relationship. Most adultery is the end result of a frustrated relationship lacking the love and communication that makes marriage fulfilling.  Interestingly, it is more common in marriages that have lasted quite a few years in which partners simply are bored or have lost interest in their spouse. 

Often adultery arises out of what some consider at first to be "innocent flirting" that soon turns into a serious proposition, and finally a full-blown affair.  I have known people who had secret affairs for years and appeared outwardly as happily married people.  Others confessed they were out on a business trip and had a "one-time fling" that they greatly regretted.

Like any sin, adultery can be forgiven.  Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery in John's gospel.

If you are involved in an affair, then you need to have the courage and concern to break it off.  Do it in a loving but clear way with the other person, especially if you were the one who initiated it.  Confess it to God and seek some competent counsel.  To all involved in such situations, I wish you God's power and peace.

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