The Anatomy of Adultery

The old warrior was alone; he could not sleep. He had been the commander of his nation’s army, but now he was too old to fight and had been given more “administrative” responsibilities. He had reached the top of his profession and now he had the time to write his memoirs. However, he couldn’t sleep that night so he sat on the roof top of his palatial mansion and looked down upon the smaller homes surrounding his— almost as if they were bowing down to his greatness. It was then he saw her; a beautiful woman taking a bath on her roof top, a private place to anyone who lived in an ordinary dwelling. However, he wasn’t ordinary; he was David, the king, and his roof top was higher than hers. So goes one of the most sad and sordid stories in the Biblical account, starting in 2 Samuel 11. It changed everything for David, his family, and his nation. Nothing would ever again be the same. Lately, we have been hearing about another old warrior by the name of David, who also fell off his roof top into adultery. The parallel between the Davids are not exact, but they are intriguing. Two older men whose lives were filled with challenge, war, and adventure, suddenly moved to positions that they were not trained for and away from the camaraderie and accountability they had experienced in the military.  Also, they chose involvement with women who were not their equals in power and influence. I believe this places the greater responsibility on them for their affairs than on the women who were complicit. One could also argue that adultery does not begin with a sex-starved motive. An affair usually begins with “emotional adultery.”  There is an attraction to the one who finds us interesting and attractive; who bestows upon us the attention that we lack from others; who listens to us, and fulfills the needs of our hungry heart. And we, especially if we are in a position of power or importance, feed the hungry heart of someone else and so it goes… It is normal for the opposite sex to be attractive to us and I believe that God has given us the ability to appreciate beauty and respect other admirable qualities. However, it is when this legitimate respect and attraction mixes with the insatiable need of our hungry heart that we begin to slide down the slippery slope of desire. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander” (Matt. 14:19). That is why pornography is not an appropriate way of dealing with these desires and preventing us from acting out. It is deceitful; like feeding our starving heart with junk food; like pouring lighter fluid on the pilot light of our lusts. Martin Luther said of temptation that we might not be able to keep the birds from flying over our head, but we can keep them from making a nest in our hair.  I think that the best way to do this is to deal with our needy hearts and seeking God’s help in feeding them properly. This is not a call to morbid introspection but honest reflection, repentance, and restoration. Some are wounded and vulnerable and need godly counsel and support. Some are ridden with guilt and suffering alone and need to know of God’s forgiveness and the friendship of the community of saints. Some of you may be named David. You too may be older now and in a position of some importance and influence. David, watch your heart, love your wife, seek after fellowship, feed your mind on the Word of God, don’t let any area of darkness occupy your heart that is not illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and don’t let the birds make a nest in what is left of your hair.

2 thoughts on “The Anatomy of Adultery

  1. Bill Epperly

    Right on, Dave. And let’s also not underestimate the power of having an accountability partner or two, with whom we can be completely honest and transparent with. Other men who will not be afraid to regularly ask us tough questions like, “What are you struggling with these days?” or “Is there any sin you need to confess?”, or “Are you being faithful to your wife and loving her as Christ loves the Church?”, and “Did you just lie to me?”

  2. Ed Caes

    I like the punchline at the end. Temptation does not diminish with old age. The birds are still trying to nest in what’s left of my hair. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Keep trusting in the redeeming grace of God’s dear Son who is always there to rescue you.

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