The secular world, attempting to assuage its collective conscious, deals with this unpleasant subject by calling it “an affair.”
An “affair,” you see, is trivial, a mere fling. Nothing to see here. Move along.
True Jesus-followers are usually savvy enough to avoid this secular word play and see it for what it is—an attempt to render amoral one of the most destructive relational acts known to man by a linguistic slight of hand. But then they often make a different mistake, a mistake which is equally offensive to the Truth.
That mistake is calling the process that results in infidelity as “falling into adultery.” I suspect they do this to not sound judgmental toward the adulterer. “You see, he didn’t really mean to hurt anyone. He fell into adultery.”
The problem here is that people do not “fall into adultery.” People fall into manholes; they commit adultery.
I have an attorney friend who once fell into a manhole in Mexico. He was walking down the street, not looking down at the sidewalk, and fell into an open manhole up to his armpits. It was an unfortunate accident. He didn’t want to be up to his armpits in a manhole in Mexico. He did nothing intentional to bring it about except that he was walking. It was barely his fault.
Adultery is a different thing altogether. Here’s how adultery works. Prior to going on his trip to Mexico my attorney friend had been looking at pictures of open manholes and dreaming of what it would be like to fall into one. He then began planning on how he could end up on a street with an open manhole. After finding such a street, he bought his plane tickets, traveled to the city and the street. Then as he was walking down the street he saw the open manhole in the distance. As he approached, everything in him was screaming “This is stupid! You could get hurt!” But ignoring all this, he walked up to the manhole and jumped in.
So, how does one avoid committing adultery? First, realize it is not an affair. It is a serious, destructive, life altering sin. Second, it doesn’t happen by accident. It is an intentional act. Third, it usually happens in stages as described above. Why not cut off the possibility of it at the first stage? I’m fairly confident that no one has ever committed adultery who didn’t start by first fantasizing. Fourth, don’t ever be alone in private with the other person. Social and peer pressure as it is makes it very difficult to commit adultery in public.
Follow these simple rules and you can avoid committing adultery, and if you are really clever you can apply the same principles to avoid falling into manholes in Mexico. GS