Roger Marsh: Well, welcome, everyone, to this Friday edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh, joined once again by Dr. Dobson. Doctor, in just a moment, we're going to continue a message that we started yesterday about keeping our marriages intact.
Dr. Dobson: You know, the culture has made light of infidelity, implying that everybody's doing it, and it's no big deal when the truth of the matter is that it will destroy a relationship and a family. The Bible tells us that it is sin.
Roger Marsh: Yes. Yes, it is.
Dr. Dobson: The wages of sin is death, not only physical death, but often the death of the marriage. It is very fitting that we devote another program to this subject.
Roger Marsh: Well, our guest for today's broadcast is Dr. David Jeremiah. He is a bestselling author, really, a riveting speaker, and also serves as senior pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church in Southern California. Dr. Jeremiah also founded his own radio and television ministry called Turning Point, which reaches millions of listeners and viewers worldwide. Now, today, he's going to continue explaining the dangers of infidelity. He's also going to share how we can stay out of compromising situations in the first place. Now, last time, Doctor, we said that these programs should act as a caution flag to couples. Often times, husbands or wives entangled in extramarital affairs don't really realize the danger that lies ahead for them in their relationships. It's kind of like the car heading down a dark road driving unknowingly toward a bridge that is down or completely out. We want to frantically wave the red flag and say, "Watch out, watch out. You're heading for disaster." Does that analogy properly express today's message?
Dr. Dobson: I think that is a perfect analogy to what we'll be saying here again today. Sometimes people commit adultery when they hadn't really intended to fool around, but they make little compromises and little flirtations. Before they know it, they've gone down that road with the missing bridge. Our job here today is to wave the red flag regardless of how good it feels and how right it feels. I have to tell you that it nearly always ends in tragedy. I don't care what Hollywood tells you. I don't know what you see or read on the internet or cable TV. When you get involved in an affair with another person, and you cheat on the wife or husband that you had committed to stay with for the rest of your life, there is pain for everyone and especially when children are involved, and they usually are. That's what Dr. Jeremiah is going to talk to us about again today.
Roger Marsh: Well, Doctor, I hope that this message will make it into someone's life who desperately needs to hear it. With that, let's pick up now with part two of this presentation that we've titled The Insidious Nature of Infidelity. Here now is Dr. David Jeremiah once again on this edition of Family Talk.
Dr. Jeremiah: Flattering conversations, forsaken companions, and forgotten covenants. What a trio of terror for modern marriages. You and I both know people, some who are in our families, extended, some who are in our neighborhoods close by, some who are in our Sunday school classes, whose lives could be told, whose story could be told by those three things: flattering words, forsaken companions, and forgotten covenants. How can we protect ourselves from the devastation that is sweeping our country and ravaging our homes? We've talked about the problem. We already know what that is, but what we can do? What can we, as God's people, do to protect our marriages so that we do not become casualties? First of all, like Jerry Jenkins, we need to build some hedges around our marriage that will protect us from failure.
Dr. Jeremiah: The idea of a hedge is Biblical thought, that you build a hedge of prayer or you build a hedge of protection around something that's precious to you, and you be proactive about it, that you go out in the beginning, and you set the stage to make sure that you're doing everything to keep failure from knocking on your door. We have to begin, Christian people, by understanding that if we do nothing and if we assume that we are above the possibility of infidelity, we have already taken the first step toward failure. I hate it when somebody says to me, and I've had pastors say it to me, "That will never happen to me." I pray to God that it's true, but I don't say that, not because I want it to happen or that I believe it will happen, but because it's important for me to understand that I am a human being and that if I do not put the proper guards up, it can happen to me.
Dr. Jeremiah: The Bible says it this way, "Let him that thinketh he stand take heed lest he fall." The most important thing we can do as Christian people is to understand that we have to be proactive and take major steps to protect our relationships. One of the growing questions that we hear around church these days is this one, "If so many of my friends and acquaintances have fallen, how can I avoid being a casualty?" Let me just remind you of one thing that I hope you will hear clearly today. That is this. The strongest marriage that you know about is in danger if the proper hedges are not set up and prayerful vigilance practiced. Just as the little foxes will spoil the vine, so the seemingly small indiscretions add up to major traps.
Dr. Jeremiah: Like John and Sue, who allowed themselves to admire, like, respect, and enjoy each other without giving a second thought to the progression of feelings, the danger of developing emotional feelings and the lure of infatuation. They never reminded themselves of their wedding vows because they had no intentions of breaking them. Feelings and emotions sneaked up on them when they least expected it, and then it was too late. I borrow from Jerry Jenkins some of the ideas that he put forth as hedges, and I want to tell you, when I read these things to you, you need to know they were written in 1989. I know a few years have passed. Culture's changing rapidly. You're going to think some of these are the most prudish things you ever heard in your life. You're going to say, "Nobody lives like that anymore," but let me just ask you this question today. Is it true or is it not true that this thing I'm talking about has gotten out of hand? It has totally gotten out of hand.
Dr. Jeremiah: If it's gotten out of hand, perhaps maybe something other than a conventional response is necessary to bring it back where it belongs. Maybe Jerry Jenkins isn't as weird as you may think he is. I'm going to tell you what he did. This was the gift he gave his wife to protect his marriage. Number one, hedge number one, whenever I need to meet or dine or travel with an unrelated woman, I make it a threesome. Should an unavoidable last minute complication make this impossible, my wife hears it from me first. In 1 Thessalonians, there are two verses that are quite close together. I want to read them to you, one right after the other. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, "Abstain from immorality, for this is the will of God." 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, "Abstain from even the appearance of evil." Jerry Jenkins says that he never eats alone with a woman who is not related to him, and he never travels in a car alone with a woman who is not related to him.
Dr. Jeremiah: I was preaching at a Bible conference, and I was finished on a Friday. I was anxious to get home. I went to the office, and I asked the conference director, "How am I going to get to the airport?" He said, "Linda will take you." She was one of the young women who worked at the conference. I said, "Who else is going with us?" He said, "No, just Linda. She's going to take you and pick somebody else up at the airport." I said, "I can't go with Linda." He said, "What's wrong with Linda?" I said, "There's not anything wrong with Linda, but I can't go 45 miles into Portland in a car with somebody that's not my wife." He said, "We don't have any other transportation." I said, "How much is a taxi?" I didn't want to hear how much that was, but you know what? They found somebody to take me and all the way there looked at me like I was strange that I wouldn't let Linda take me to the airport in a car by myself.
Dr. Jeremiah: I've had that hedge in place through all my married life, and I think it's a very important one. This matter of eating together, I know some of you say, "Hey, I have business luncheons, et cetera, et cetera." Jerry Jenkins says, "Remember, eating is an intimate time. If it were not, there would not be so many dinner dates." He's right. Eating is a very, very intimate time where you sit together, and you talk together. Conversation is easy. Sometimes, you kind of relax, and you let down your guard a little bit. If you're not careful, in situations like that, there can be the beginning of those conversations that take you in the wrong direction. Jerry Jenkins says, secondly, I won't dwell on this, but he says, "If I pay a compliment to a woman other than my wife, it is on clothes or hairstyle, not on the person herself. Commenting on a pretty outfit is much different, in my opinion, than telling a woman that she looks very pretty today."
Dr. Jeremiah: Isn't that interesting? He can do that in a very, very nice way, but he keeps it removed just enough to maintain the hedge in the relationship. Then, he says, thirdly, "Never flirt even in jest. Never flirt with someone other than your wife even in jest." He writes this, "I don't flirt with other women even in jest because I wouldn't want my wife to be offended or hurt or wonder or to be embarrassed, and I certainly would not want her to do the same." Good reasoning. I suggest you, and I've got to hurry, that you build some hedges around your marriage that will protect you from failure. Number two, be sensitive to the first signs of trouble and run. What do we do when we suddenly become aware of an attraction that goes beyond friendship? What do you do? Do we pray about it? Do we resolve to conquer the feeling? Do we decide to turn over a new leaf in our thoughts?
Dr. Jeremiah: The Bible teaches us, now listen to this carefully, that we are not to win, we are not to gain the victory, we are not to succeed by the sheer force of our wills or consciousnesses or our determination. The Bible says this, "Flee the evil desires of youth." Mark Twain said that there are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice. I thought that was a great statement, fear. Did you know, and I've told you this before as I've taught you over the years, that the Bible tells us to fight sin and to stand and be men and to resist evil except in two situations? One is idolatry, and the other is immorality. In those two situations, the Bible tells us to run, to flee it, to get away from it. Joseph did the best thing he could do when Mrs. Potiphar grabbed hold of him. He ran out of there as fast as he could.
Dr. Jeremiah: David lingered on top of the house and ended up committing adultery. Joseph ran. While he was arrested and falsely accused, he was pure. I love telling young people when I preach on Genesis 39 that the best equipment you can buy for escaping temptation is the fastest pair of Adidas money will buy. You need to go get them and use them and get out of there. Then, let me say, thirdly, not only build hedges around your marriage to keep them safe and be sensitive to the first signs of trouble and get away, let me just add this. Some of you say, "My problem's in my office. The person that I'm attracted to that's frightening to me right now is in my office. What do I do?" I don't know. Get another office. Get transferred. If you have the power, get her transferred.
Dr. Jeremiah: I mean, I don't know what to do, but I'm telling you there is no way for you to stay in the midst of the heat of that situation and be successful because the Bible says the only way you can be successful is through retreat. I didn't say that. The Bible said it. If you think you're going to be the first one who can stand in the middle of that situation, and you're going to be strong, and you're going to resist all this temptation, and you're not going to yield, and it's going to be okay, you're fooling yourself, sister or brother. It isn't going to happen. God wouldn't tell us to run if there was some other way. He says to run. Then, last but not least, I want you to believe what God says about the penalties for infidelity. These are tough, and I wish I didn't have to read them to you, but I'm going to do it quickly.
Dr. Jeremiah: Back to those passages we started with in Proverbs, in chapter two, it says this, verse 18, "For her house leads down to death and her paths to the dead, and none who go to her return nor do they regain the paths of life." In chapter seven verses 22 and 23, we read these words about what happened to the one who went after this woman, "Immediately, he went after her as an ox goes to the slaughter or as a fool to the correction of the stocks til an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost him his life." In verse 25, "Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways. Do not stray into her paths, for she has cast down many wounded. And all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death."
Dr. Jeremiah: Chapter nine verses 17 and 18, "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant, but he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell." Look at chapter six of Proverbs verses 27 to 29. Listen to this one, "Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes be not burned? Can one walk on hot coals and his feet be not seared? So is he who goes into his neighbor's wife. Whoever touches her shall not be innocent." Chapter five verses three through five, "For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil, but in the end, she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, and her steps lay hold of hell."
Dr. Jeremiah: All of those passages just in that little section of Proverbs. You know what they all say? Death, wormwood, pain, anguish, being slain. I love the passage that says, "Can you take fire into your bosom and not be burned?" Some of you may think, "Well, I'll get by with this." No, you won't. Let me just say this to you. Nobody ever gets by with it, nobody. It always is found out sooner or later. I don't care who you are or how clever you are. What the word of God says is there's no way to do this without being burned by it. It will surely take its toll in your life. You know, we've gone through this whole thing over the years of it's only two people, and if only two people are hurt. It's never two people.
Dr. Jeremiah: I was reading a book, and there was a story in there about these two little kids. They came home from school, and they were talking, and their mother overheard them. They were all concerned. Her mother asked them what was wrong. She says, "We're scared of the vorce." She thought it was like the force in some of these movies that you see. No, "We're scared of the vorce. Some of our friends, their mom and dad have the vorce. We don't want the vorce to come here." They were talking about how they could keep that from coming into their family. It's never just the man and his wife, the wife and the husband and maybe the two other people involved in some way. It's always the hurt of the children.
Dr. Jeremiah: Listen to this poem that was written by Shannon Pew, a 15-year-old girl, two days after her father walked out on her mother for another woman. Listen to her poem, "I never thought it would happen to me. How could I have been so naïve? There weren't any hints, no problems at all, at least not any that I saw. No one can help you. No one can know how hard it is to watch your daddy go. When I feel so powerless in all this mess, I have to remember this is just a test. God picked me out from all the rest to see how strong I can really be. It's so hard to see your hero slip away. Then it happened on that terrible, dark day. He said, 'I'm sorry. I have to go.' Then his emotions began to show.
Dr. Jeremiah: Your world collapses. You feel defeated. Why did my family have to be cheated? As he turned to go away, he said he had just one more thing to say. With sadness in his eyes, he said, 'I love you,' but how can this be true? He wants to leave us, but he wants my love too. The emotions I feel for him are so confused. Sometimes I love him, but then I hate him too. The emotion I feel that's the strongest of all is the one that's so strong that it could cause me to fall. It's fear, fear of what will happen to me. I fear as I grow older this might happen to my own family. I know that it's all right to cry. Sometimes it's the only thing that helps me get by. When I begin to feel this way, I have to stop and think and pray and ask God for a brand new day."
Dr. Jeremiah: You know, a commonly held assumption is that the effect of this on children is short-lived, but listen to this same girl at the age of 21 as she writes an essay for her English class. "My name is Shannon, and I come from a broken home, broken in the respect that my father left us or, as psychologists would rather have it said, he left my mother, but, nonetheless, he broke my heart in the process. I would like to be able to say that it gets easier with time and the hurt begins to fade, but that wouldn't be completely honest." She goes on to say that after reading everything she could find on the subject of the children of divorce, she is in counseling, trying to continue her healing process. You say, "Pastor Jeremiah, wasn't it cruel to read that?" I don't know.
Dr. Jeremiah: I didn't want to read it, but I want to tell you something, people. That's happening all too much, and it's bringing hurt and pain to the body of Christ. What I'm saying to you today is before you do what you're thinking about doing, would you replay that scene in your mind? Would you remember that you just don't do this without penalty and without touching and hurting people? God hasn't given us these commands about marital fidelity to be cruel to us, to be unkind to us, but God has set these boundaries around our marriages because he knows that in the midst of that sacred bond, there is hope and happiness and healing and joy. When we walk outside of that, there is hurt and anguish and pain. Yes, by the grace of God, we can get on top of it and begin to go on and rebuild our lives, but I don't know a single person who's ever been through it who wouldn't say with all honesty, "I wish it wouldn't have had to happen."
Dr. Jeremiah: My heart cry today is that you will see that. If you haven't built hedges around your family, you will do it. If you're involved in something that's starting to go in the wrong direction, and you know it, mister, you know it, mam, that you will now take action and run from it as fast as you can before it gets beyond your ability to control it. I want to tell you something. Infidelity is hereditary. It comes from Adam, who got it from Satan. Satan's desire is to devour your marriage and your home and your family and to destroy your influence and to ruin the joy in your heart. Let me take you to a place where Jesus knelt in the sand. The woman who had been caught in adultery was being accused by some Pharisees who were trying to trap Jesus. Jesus said to her what he says to everyone today who will come in repentance, "Woman, I forgive you. Go and sin no more."
Dr. Jeremiah: There is no sin too great that God will not forgive it, and there is such a thing as secondary virginity. Secondary virginity is knowing that you've done wrong, asking God to forgive you, and making up your mind by the grace of God that you will live holy and righteous before him from this moment on. God will honor that. He will allow you to know the joy again. Maybe you will miss some things that you wouldn't have known because of what you did in the past because sin always carries a penalty, and there are scars. I want to give you this hope and this grace. For those of you who have never been unfaithful by the grace of God, renew your vows to faithfulness today. For those of you who have blown it, if you haven't asked God to forgive you, ask him, and he will. Begin anew today to live for him and make your marriage and your family what God wants it to be.
Roger Marsh: That is excellent advice to end this Family Talk broadcast. I'm Roger Marsh, and our guest over the past couple of days has been pastor and author Dr. David Jeremiah. Now, if you were moved by his two-day broadcast here on Family Talk, we would love to hear from you. Visit Family Talk's Facebook page and leave your comment about today's broadcast post right there. You can find and like our profile, by the way, by going to Facebook.com/drjamesdobsonsfamilytalk. There, you can listen to past broadcasts, and you can also share them with your loved ones as well. Just share them on your wall, and everybody else will be able to see them right there. Hurry now to Family Talk's Facebook page and comment on today's broadcast post. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this important program. I'm joined once again by Dr. Dobson. Doctor, we hope that this message on infidelity has been revealing or, if necessary, a little bit convicting for our listeners today.
Dr. Dobson: When we started the program a few minutes ago, we were speculating on how many people are listening to us right now who are about to make this mistake of getting into an affair or they're contemplating it. It's the world in which we live, and you can find support for this kind of sin everywhere. It is sin. In the workplace, it might be a woman who targets a certain married man and goes after him, and she flatters him. Then, it's a two-sided coin because there are predators out there. There are man who are womanizers, and they'll take whatever they can get and then walk away. It's all around us. Speaking to our listeners, if you're going to live a holy life and honor your marital commitment, you absolutely have to make a determination to live by that standard before you get in too deep.
Roger Marsh: That is absolutely true, Dr. Dobson. Our mission here at Family Talk is to support marriages. One way we can effectively do that is through our resources page at drjamesdobson.org. Go there, and you can scroll through Dr. Dobson's many books, his teaching CDs, his DVDs, and much, much more. You'll find the help you need for your family, especially for your marriage, by visiting the resources page at drjamesdobson.org. Also, if you're wanting to listen to this presentation again or gift it to someone, all you have to do is contact us and request a copy. Simply go to the broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org and click on the link that says "order a CD copy." drjamesdobson.org, and then click onto the "order a CD copy" link. Well, that's all the time we have for today and this week here on Family Talk. Thanks for listening and your consistent support of this ministry. For Dr. James Dobson, I'm Roger Marsh. Have a blessed weekend.
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