We have seen so many pictures of devastation lately that I almost hate to do this to you, but I want to show one more:
That is a sad sight, isn’t it? I think we’ve all experienced that moment. It’s so frustrating. It hasn’t happened to me personally all that often. But that doesn’t mean my life hasn’t been affected by the cracked cell phone; you see I have four children and all them have cell phones. Not only have they cracked their screens but my children have gotten downright creative with the ways they have done it:
- “I threw it to a friend but she didn’t catch it.”
- “I placed it on the armrest on my chair and somebody knocked it off.”
- “I placed it on the ground at the soccer field and someone stepped on it.” (Shocking)
- Here is my favorite excuse: “I was going to the bathroom and I placed it on the toilet paper roll and it fell off.”
In those moments I know the right response. I want to respond with calm and patience. After the conflict settles down there are three messages I want to communicate with my child:
- You are forgiven.
- You are loved.
- You are valued.
After those phrases, there is one more message I have for my child: It’s going to cost you…about $90 bucks. I want my children to feel loved and accepted and valued. I don’t want them to think that I think they are stupid even though they threw a cell phone across the room to a friend without a case on it. Some people might debate me on that particular point, but I don’t believe my children are morons. I want them to feel my love. But they still have to pay to get their screen fixed.
Because that’s how life is. Sure there is forgiveness. Sure there is grace. Sure, a loving parent will always love. But there are also consequences. This doesn’t just go for cell phones.
- You can be forgiven for running your car without oil for 5000 miles… but you’ll still need a new engine.
- You can be loved if you don’t study for your math test… but you’re not getting an A.
- You can get grace if you eat 2 boxes of Captain Crunch a day… but you won’t fit into your bikini and please don’t try.
This isn’t just a parenting principle this is how life works because this is the way God designed his planet. We can do whatever we want and we can receive the grace of God to forgive us, but I have to warn you that there are consequences to your actions. And most of the time those consequences cost us more than $90 bucks to replace a cracked screen. In fact, it seems that some screens cannot be replaced.
This Screen Can’t Be Fixed
Usually when I give a message about consequences, I like to speak generally about how these principles apply to all kinds of mistakes. Today I am going to focus on one particular catastrophe though because in my experience, this one brings the most drama and the most damage: the affair. I have had people in my office to confess all kinds of transgressions, but the affair is hands down the most damaging. It hurts husbands and wives and kids and extended family and friendships. I know I sound very provincial, and narrow minded, and I don’t like being pigeon-holed that way but based on experience, if you drop this part of your life it is very costly to repair. The fissures will spread out to your workplace and your reputation and your children. It’s almost unavoidable.
It’s hard for me to use such strong language because our God is a God of grace and I know there are people here who have made that mistake. I want them to know that God can repair their lives. Here’s one reason why I am encouraged to talk boldly on this subject: the people who have made this mistake would want me to tell you. They would be first in line to warn you against following in their footsteps.
David, the man considered in the Bible as “A man after God’s own heart” would make this misstep and it would cost him in every possible manner.
I know that all affairs are different, but let give you one fact that I believe to be true about all affairs. An affair isn’t one single mistake. No one ever wakes up in the morning and says, “Today is the day I have an affair.” People don’t suddenly have affairs; they drift into them. Affairs are made up of a series of mistakes. Many of them seem innocent. You might not even notice that you are doing anything wrong. Then, before you know it, you’ve wandered down a path and you’re trapped.
David’s son, Solomon, saw what happened to his father based on this mistake so he gives this warning about wandering near an adulterous woman:
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. 8 Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, 10 lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. –-Proverbs 5:7-10
If you are going to succeed in this area of your life, you have to be very careful what path you walk. You have to be aware of each and every step. And make sure to avoid dark alleys. If you don’t, these verses say this will happen to you: You will lose your dignity and it will cost you money. Affairs aren’t cheap my friends. They lead to lawyers and two rent payments and counseling and expensive “I’m sorry gifts.”
If you want to stay away from the big mistake you have to be careful where you walk. It’s the little mistakes that you might not even notice that cost you the most. That’s what happened to David:
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. 2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba,the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”–2 Samuel 11:1-3
At first glance, you may be wondering where David went wrong here. All he did was go for a walk when he couldn’t sleep. What could be wrong with that? After all, who hasn’t gotten up from their bed and walked around? But there are a couple of mistakes here that David made that actually seem pretty innocent but they aren’t:
2 Ways We Drift into Mistakes
1) We Drift into Mistakes When We Put Ourselves in a Place We Shouldn’t Be.
David should have been at war, but he stayed home. He wasn’t where he was supposed to be. In this time, kings went to war. Now David was in his mid-fifties, why would he go to war? I’m in my mid-fifties and I know you don’t want guys my age leading the charge into war. So why would David go into war? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that this is the first time he decided to stay home. He shirked his responsibilities, and chose comfort instead. Seemed like no big deal. It was a decision he just drifted into. Anyone getting uncomfortable now? Does it sound familiar now? David put himself in a place of vulnerability. You might not be king, you might not have responsibilities on the battle field, but there are a lot of places you can find yourself that you shouldn’t be.
- Perhaps you have found yourself lingering in the office of a beautiful co-worker. It’s just business, right?
- Maybe you find yourself on the elliptical every day at the same time next to that guy. It’s nothing. He’s just a friend. But he’s funny and it’s just fun to be with him.
- Maybe there is a neighbor that you just hit it off with. He’s funny. She’s attractive. You’re just being neighborly. What’s the harm?
It doesn’t seem like much. You can easily explain it away. But when you are with that person there is just a little pop of adrenaline. You feel funnier, more attractive. It’s nothing. It just nice to be noticed again.
2) We Drift into Mistakes When We Explore New Rooftops
A guy should be allowed to look out of his window, right? Plus, is it really his fault that a woman was bathing on her roof? It would be hard not to look. I’m just saying. Am I in trouble? I’m probably in trouble. Now there probably aren’t any women bathing on the rooftops near your house. Its probably against your HOA rules. But there are so many other rooftops that you can explore.
You can be googling something for work and up comes an article that says, “Check out what these child stars look like now.” And one click leads to another click and before you know it you’ve found a woman bathing on her rooftop
You can be searching for a book to read and this one just looked like a romance novel, but it turned into so much more.
You can be up at night flipping channels. Everything looks so boring. Except that movie. So you choose it and flip until you find the good parts.
There are so many rooftops we can click on. This is not just a guy thing either. Ladies you might not be looking at bodies, but you’re looking for an emotional connection. It’s not a big deal. Just a little drift. But remember, no affair starts with one big decision. We drift into it. David’s drift led him to verse three.
4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.–2 Samuel 11:4
Time to Face the Consequences
If the story were to end here, it would be the perfect crime. David made a mistake, but it was just one night. Unfortunately for David, there was a verse 5:
5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”–2 Samuel 11:5
You might not believe me when I say this, but there is always a verse 5. She might not get pregnant, but you will get found out. And it’s always ugly. There is always drama. I have seen it over and over and over and over again. People wander into my office after the affair comes out and there are always deep wounds. People are devastated, children are wounded, you lose your friends respect. It happens every time. This is what it looked like in David’s life.
I know you think it’s a good idea. I know you think no one will find out. I know you think that you have found your soul mate. You think you have found someone that will finally make you happy. But let me warn you. You will pay the penalty. It will cost you.
- An affair will cost you your peace.
- It will cost you the respect of your children.
- It could cost you your job.
- It will cost you financially
The Good News
I know this message has been a rough one and some of you are thinking, “Boy, if I had an affair, I’d be mad at Jack.” I actually believe just the opposite. Those people who have made that mistake are the ones who agree with me most. Maybe I’m deluded, but based on the people I’ve talked to, they want me to share this message. Because they have lived it. They know the pain. And they want to keep you from it.
Let’s close with some grace. If you have made that mistake let me give you the first step out. David wrote this after his affair.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.–Psalm 32:3-5
Your first step out is coming clean. Confessing to God. Being honest with your spouse. If you don’t take this step you will continue to make bad decision after bad decision. Just admit your mistake and ask forgiveness. God will forgive the guilt and you can start walking back out.