Adultery is not a topic we like to dis - cuss, but we must talk about it so as to find forgiveness for sin or to prevent this pain in our lives and in the lives of those we love.
I. GOD IS OFFENDED BY ALL TYPES OF ADULTERY.
A. Physical but not emotional. There is no commitment in this relationship; it simply fulfills a physical desire. It is the easiest to justify in one’s own mind be - cause the offender may still love his/her spouse. It is often excused as just meet - ing a physical need, like eating food or drinking water. One might classify David and Bathsheba’s relationship in this cat - egory.
B. Emotional but not physical. This happens when you give your emotions and your heart but would not consider having a physical relationship. Online re - lationships could fit into this category.
C. Physical and emotional. This is probably the most damaging for a mar - riage, but recovery is possible because Jesus Christ can bring healing. There can be forgiveness. There can be restoration. He who brought the dead back to life can surely give life to a dead marriage.
D. Spiritual (Hosea 4:12, 13). In Rev - elation 2:4, God accused the church at Ephesus of having left its first love. Is there anything in your life that you are more passionate about than your rela - tionship with Jesus? Would you be satis - fied with a husband or wife who was 85 percent faithful? Of course not. Yet we expect God to be happy with us when we are less than 100 percent faithful to Him.
II. GOD SEES THE CAUSES BEHIND ADULTERY
A. Adultery comes from our minds (Matt. 5:27-28; 15:19). Like any other sin we might commit, the battle against adultery is fought in the mind. That’s why Paul considered it so important that we allow our minds to be transformed by God’s Word and God’s Spirit (Rom. 12:1, 2).
B. Adultery comes from our arro - gance. “It won’t happen to me. I’m above that.” “Those laws don’t apply to me!” “I can do this and get away with it!” Do you flirt with other men or women? If so, you are playing with fire (Prov. 6:27, 28).
C. Adultery comes from our failure to recognize it as sin against God (Lev. 20:10; Ps. 51). God expects exclusivity in marriage because He expects exclusivity in our relationship with Him. The mar - riage relationship is to be a reflection of our relationship with Him. That’s why God is so offended by broken marriages.
Adultery is not just a matter of one spouse sinning against the other. It is a matter of sinning against Almighty God who is your Creator and who is your Judge (Heb. 13:4).
Adultery is an offense against God because it destroys trust. It breaks the vow that two people have made to one another. When that trust is betrayed, it is much harder for the person who ex - perienced betrayal to trust in God and believe His promises.
D. Adultery occurs when we devalue our commitment (Ps. 15:4). Commitment is viewed negatively because it limits our ability to feel independent and free, to experience new things, to change our minds spontaneously. We focus on selfgratification rather than on loyalty to others.
E. Adultery comes from our emphasis on personal pleasure (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:19-23). Adultery comes from our failure to build a strong, loving relationship with the one we vowed to love and cherish.
III. GOD CAN HELP KEEP US FROM ADULTERY
A. Pray for yourselves and others. The dangers to marriages today are greater than they have ever been—especially be - cause of Internet pornography and the ability to develop relationships with other people online. There is no accountability, no responsibility, and no need for hon - esty. No work is involved except typing.
Some of you have been faithful to your spouse for decades. Pray that the marriages of young couples in your church will be just as strong as yours is. Some of you are not yet married. Pray that God will build in you the character and patience needed for you to be faith - ful to your spouse. Parents, pray that God will send godly men and women into your children’s lives for them to marry and that their marriages will be strong.
B. Teach your children. Let your children see how much you love your spouse. Let them see you hug one another. Knowing that mom and dad love each other will give your kids a sense of security. Teach your children age-appro - priate information about sex and show them how to relate to persons of the op - posite sex. They are going to learn about sex somewhere; let them receive honest, accurate information from you.
C. Watch for warning signs. Remember, adultery starts in the mind. You can stop it before it starts by changing what you think about.
D. Give your spouse emotional intimacy. For families with young children, emotional intimacy is almost a thing of the past. It’s difficult to find time to talk about the day’s events, much less about anything significant or about feelings. Be sure to plan time for just the two of you. Show each other that you are the most important people in your life.
E. Build a love relationship with Jesus. My relationship with Jesus is the hub of my life. When that is right, every other relationship will be right. Being in a right relationship with Jesus will make me a better father, a better husband, a better person. It will make me more patient, more giving, more thoughtful, more sacrificial, and more caring. When my relationship with God is broken, every other relationship will be broken, too. I will become selfish, angry, careless, and ungrateful.
F. Give complete control to the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). Allowing the Holy Spirit to rule in your life will enable you to love your spouse more; to have joy in your relationships; to have peace even when things are not going as well as you would like; and to have self-control when there is an opportunity for you to be un - faithful to your spouse.
IV. GOD OFFERS HOPE TO THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY GIVEN IN TO TEMPTATION.
If you have committed adultery, admit that what you have done is sinful. Believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is sufficient to provide payment for your sin. Confess your sin to God and to other affected par - ties and seek forgiveness. Determine that you will make the necessary changes so that it will not happen again.
General Conference Ministerial Association