Adultery of the Heart
Did you know that we “singles” are able to commit adultery?
God has chosen our future husbands, and one day we will give ourselves – our whole heart – to that man. Or will we? As Christians, many of us have decided to save our bodies for our man, but what about the rest of who we are? It is possible to have an emotional affair without any physical relationship. If we believe that God has already chosen our future spouse, then to have a relationship with someone other than our man is to render ourselves unfaithful, which in essence is the definition of adultery; whether it's physical or emotional.
I am seeing it happen to many Christian girls who hold a standard of no physical relations before marriage....but unfortunately the enemy has besieged the heart – the emotions.
If your experiences are anything like mine, the subtle “attack” normally comes in many different ways. Sometimes it comes through well meaning people, who want to see me happily involved in a relationship. They question why a “nice girl” could possibly still be single. I don't know if twenty-two is the magical age of match-making...but it seems like this summer I've been matched with every eligible young man (and sometimes not so young!) in Northern Idaho.
Sometimes it comes in the form of an actual someone that we can't help but feel attracted to. Feeling attracted towards someone is not a sin. But how we behave is crucial. Suddenly there are endless opportunities to catch this guy's attention. You know....laugh at a certain time, say something, sit somewhere, tease... Or there are plenty of people who suddenly pop into our life to let us know that maybe this guy “is it”. As if it isn't hard enough to keep our own thoughts pure and not to give in to daydreaming, let alone THEIR added thoughts and dreams.
Sometimes it can be media. Romance novels. Romance movies...magazines...music. They can become mental escapes where the emotions run wild in our imagination.
All of these can lead to emotional adultery. And they all share a similar process that I would like to share. I am seeing it over and over again in the lives of Christian young women around me.
Adultery (physical and emotional) always starts out with a friendship. We let our guard down with friends. It's so important who our friends are! Also, it's beneficial to realize that guys and girls really are unable to become close friends without forming some sort of relationship beyond casual friendship. Even if it's one sided, it always happens. And outside of God's timing it's always unhealthy. Our best friend should not be a guy. It will lead us down a path we really didn't intend.
I admit it is sad not to be able to share my heart with guys sometimes. There are sweet young men out there that would make great friends. But, as girls, our hearts are made to be given. It's natural to give our hearts away. But our heart is meant only to be given to one man, and at marriage. Anything outside of this God-given plan is detrimental. Not to mention that the reward to following this plan is also incomparable.
My family is really close to another family that lives near us and goes to our church. We do EVERYTHING together. We might as well be one family (almost!). :) We even have people meeting us for the first time who think we are all one family. This family is one of those rare families that can come over uninvited...and no one cares that the house happens to be a disaster....you just add some plates to the dinner table and call it good. Anyway, I consider the “boys” of this family to be like brothers. And I know they consider me like a sister. But, there have been times where I could tell they were hurting...having a hard time....and I knew I couldn't go have a one-on-one with them and ask what was wrong and talk it over. Why? Because a heart to heart is deeply personal...it's what best friends do...it's a sharing of the heart..a deeply personal part of me that is to be saved for only one man.
Is it sad to have to guard my heart in this? Even to where I render myself unable to “be there” for my brother in Christ? Honestly, yes. I have felt twinges of remorse. But is it worth it? Yes! I can pray for that brother and be just as “helpful” to them. I don't need to know what is hurting them...we share a Father who already knows. I will be able to be my man's best friend, without having previously given that part of my heart away to another guy. Even those guys that feel like brothers.
Friends....we have to be extra careful with friends. Communication is a way of expressing our heart. Girls, we've got to be careful. Who do we text, email, call, write? How often? What's our motive? Really, motive actually has very little to do with it....because our intentions may be innocent, but we don't know what emotions we may be stirring in the other person. Many affairs start with “just” texting a friend. Relating, sharing, expressing through words.
Do I sound radical? Are you thinking, “This girl is actually encouraging me to limit my time of communication with guys!”. Yes, I guess I am radical in this day and age. But I'm not the only one. Have you ever heard of Joshua Harris (author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye) or Eric and Leslie Ludy (co-authors of “When God Writes Your Love Story). These young christian men and women took a radical stand and were later rewarded with a spouse who had kept their heart as equally pure. I have met young couples who waited until their wedding day to share their hearts. They have all encouraged me and others to keep it all for “the one”. The more you have to give, the better! It goes beyond physical purity.
Time we spend with someone, words we express, feelings we share, are all investments. We are actually withdrawing from our love account and investing in that other person. A guy friend must be on a totally different level than our girl friends or our family members.
Our best friend ought to be Christ. Who do we run to with our little dilemmas in life? Who comforts us when we're hurting? Some girls escape to their fantasy world of romance. Whether that means in a novel or over the phone or on the computer with someone.
We don't have to be giving ourselves physically in order to be giving our heart away.
Some girls already know they are in the wrong. They tell themselves that it isn't right. But when the guy comes around, they give in again. Adultery is addicting. How many times can we tell ourselves, or even promise God, “Never again”?
If you have sincerely decided you won't give in to these temptations and attacks; if you've moved on from admitting it's only a “struggle”, then let me encourage you. It is good that you have determined to win this war, but you must rely on His provided grace for every battle.
It's work to be separate, to be different than the world. But He makes it worthwhile. We won't regret it when our man comes.
Some people will see us as a prude. It's inevitable. But you might be pleasantly surprised. A lot of people that I have had to “stand my ground” with have actually respected my convictions. I recently had to do this very thing with my employer. I felt a little awkward explaining to this innocent match-maker where I stood. Mostly because she is my elder. But I was amazed that she actually agreed with me and told me that she admired my stand. And it has opened up so many good edifying conversations, even opportunities to share Christ, and I also found out that we could encourage each other in this area since she is “single” as well.
Having others know our convictions will also help us keep them. It holds us accountable. If we keep our convictions secret we will be easily tempted to give in. But if our friends know where God has convicted us to stand, we won't be able to back down. That includes that guy that is attracted to us or vice versa. If he really cares about us, he will respect our convictions. Our convictions will honestly do a lot of weeding out of the worthless guys. If we take the time to think about it, a guy that doesn't respect our convictions isn't going to be the guy we hope to marry someday, right?
Faithful is He that calleth us to purity. He also will do it, if we allow Him to. We are to do our man good ALL the days of his life. (Proverbs 31). That includes right now. Let's not only save our bodies but also our emotions. Someday we will be glad we did....and so will our man.