THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY. Deuteronomy 5:9, Tanakh Version, JPS.
My goodness, is this a loaded subject or what? Not so many years ago there was universal lip service given to the importance of chastity and marital fidelity. We’re all aware this law was broken all the time but breaking it was at least publicly acknowledged to be a societal evil.
Today most people just look perplexed when such an old fashioned and repressive idea is brought up. In some circles getting married without first “sampling the wares” is unheard of. How will you know if you are “compatible” unless you live together? And even young children must not be repressed or deprived of their sexuality. It’s difficult to know where to start on this subject.
Much of our present attitudes on adultery lead directly back to the serial adulteries and sexual misconduct of William Jefferson Clinton. His “indiscretions” were never really a “private” matter. They harmed and shamed the whole nation. They certainly changed the political landscape.
Many years ago I had an argument with some (all male) co-workers about fidelity in marriage. They laughed at the idea and scoffed when I said I could say with 100% certainty that my parents always remained faithful to each other. They told me that might be true for my mother, but certainly not for my father. Then I asked, “So, you all step out on your wives when you get the chance?” All heads ducked, the squirming began and suddenly it was time to return to work. Thinking about it, I still wonder how many of them were guilty as charged, and how many of them demanded complete fidelity from their wives.
Loss of faith in either partners’ fidelity leads to emotional devastation on an epic scale. There are other ways for men and women to be unfaithful today. Pornography, telephone and cybersex have entrapped the unwary and led to alienation, distrust and divorce between spouses. I have tried to explain to people how I could forgive an act of unfaithfulness if a living, breathing human being were involved, but the idea of telephone or internet sex is absolutely revolting to me. I think it is the idea of someone indulging themselves in absolute hedonism for their own pleasure without even human contact that is so nauseating. These types of actions are strictly selfish and no emotion other than lust is involved.
The awful evil perpetrated by adults to sexualize young children, with some even condoning using them for pornography and acting as pimps for pedophiles, is beyond comprehension. Nothing remains of innocence for many young children.
What can be said for the rise of STD’s when TV ads glorify drugs that tout no harm done if you get an STD? Just take some medicine and you, too, can be out having a wonderful time with a new partner. What about AIDS? It is true that you sleep with your partner’s partners. Horror stories abound of men particularly spreading their diseases because they are too lazy or too venal to forego their anger or pleasure in any way.
Isn’t it strange that the matter which The Lord used to describe His relationship with faithless Israel is that of a Bill of Divorcement? He says that He remains faithful to the promises He has made to His faithless people and they will yet know that He is ever faithful.
THUS SAITH THE LORD, WHERE IS THE BILL OF YOUR MOTHER’S DIVORCEMENT, WHOM I HAVE PUT AWAY? OR WHICH OF MY CREDITORS IS IT TO WHOM I HAVE SOLD YOU? BEHOLD FOR YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE YE SOLD YOURSELVES, AND FOR YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS IS YOUR MOTHER PUT AWAY. Isaiah 50:1 KJV
“. . . for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves . . .” And what do we sell ourselves for but the ever present mess of pottage.
We ought not continue to sell ourselves, nor sell our children by our own willful misconduct.