We have reached day 7 of our 31 day study of the Book of Proverbs.
On day 5, I used the term “immoral woman” as an analogy to any number of temptations that could ultimately lead to sin. Today, I’m going straight at the literal meaning of the term.
While chapter 7 talks only of the immoral woman, I am going to broaden that to include the immoral man. I have readers of both genders and I am aware that immorality is not exclusive to either sex.
As many of Proverbs begin, pointing us to wisdom & insight, so does chapter 7. We are instructed to “let them protect (us) from an affair with an immoral woman (man), from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman (man).” This is a verse I know a little something about. As most of you know, I make my very best attempt at being transparent with you, not so you can throw your stones but so that we can grow and learn together in our relationship with the Lord.
Let me begin by saying I have never been unfaithful in my relationships, past or present. I can not speak to the pain of a physical affair as I have never been on either side of that obstacle. I am not, nor have I ever been, a promiscuous woman as that definition applies. I can, however, relate to what happens when an emotional connection is sought from someone other than your partner. I have been the guilty party and I have been the victim. Yesterday our pastor made a statement that sums up the ‘why’ for both circumstances, “If you don’t speak words of affirmation to your spouse (fiance, girlfriend, boyfriend) someone else will.” For me personally, that is precisely how I ended up on both sides of this stumbling back. When I was the victim, in retrospect I can easily admit that I was not sewing anything positive into my relationship. I wasn’t being outwardly destructive either which is why at the time I couldn’t understand where any of the fault lied with me. As the guilty party, I had been dealing with multiple issues and emotions that I felt were not being validated by my partner.
When we are at our lowest point: beaten down, brokenhearted, lost & questioning-that is precisely when the devil will slip right in and do what he does best. Confuse the ever-loving fire out of you. As a Christian, that should have served as a waving red flag because God is not the author of confusion. I can comfortably speak for both instances and say that the guilty party, (self included), justified their actions by leaning on the fact that there was no physical aspect to the connection made. Want to know another interesting point Pastor made yesterday, “most affairs start with words.” Even though I nor the person who abused my trust had ever contemplated a physical affair, by making an emotional connection with someone outside of the relationship we could have easily slipped right on down that slippery slope.
In spite of the devastation & hurt feelings that the misuses of trust caused in my relationship, loving and thriving connections were restored. There is one practice and one alone that allowed the unforgivable to be forgiven: Confession & Repentance. When I was hurt, forgiveness was sought first from the Lord and then requested of me. When I acted a fool, I followed the same procedure.
1st John chapter 1 assures us that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness IF we confess our sins to Him. We are also given the promise that He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west and blotted out our transgressions for His own sake and remembers them no more. (Psalm 103:12 & Isaiah 43:25)
If the Lord himself can forgive me and the ones who hurt me, then who I am to withhold forgiveness from those who seek it? If God removes our sins from us, than who am I to drag them back up and use them to beat others OR myself down?
Back to the point of Proverbs 7, not one of us is exempt from temptation of any kind. We are all weak and subject to sin. The good news that Proverbs overflows with is that God does not ask us to go at it alone. He gives us solid teaching and words that bring about an awareness that we could otherwise not comprehend. When facing the urge to look outside of the relationship that God has blessed us with to seek solace, let us first bury our faces in His Word for strength to resist then we will be equipped with all that we need to mend broken relationships and avoid falling into immoral ones.
*It’s not too late to join us in our 31 days through the Book of Proverbs. If you wish to start from the beginning, the first post is “31 Day Challenge” listed in the archive section of this blog for the month of February.*