Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rough Waters

Praise God we've made it to this point!

The last week or so has been quite rough. Yesterday, however, things got better. We laughed together. We shared smiles. We held each other.

My wife informed me that the next month or two might be difficult. She wasn't kidding.

It was around this time last year when things got ugly. I wonder if the Easter Season will always remain this way. Have I stained and tainted one of the most glorious events in all of human history with my sinful and destructive choices?

Easter is a time to celebrate the historical and verifiable resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. His victory over the grave provided a genuine and accessible joy and freedom to everyone on the planet.

Because I chose to have a relationship outside of my marriage during the Easter Season (2014), and in 2013 I chose to secretly carry on conversations with a girl from my past (including seeing her in person a couple of times), this time of year brings about painful reminders for my wife.

A couple of days ago, my wife asked me if I was hiding anything. She asked me if I had anything devastating to tell her.

I understand why she wanted to know. In the past, I was hiding. I hid my inner conflict. I hid my inner pain. I hid the fact that I didn't know how to deal with issues from my past. I hid the fact that I felt helpless to clearly express disagreement with my wife. I hid relationships that I fostered outside of my marriage. I taught my wife that I was not to be trusted. I violated her trust repeatedly.

This time, I have nothing to hide. I am broken. I have been humbled. I am transparent with my wife. I have chosen the road of true repentance.

It actually feels good to have nothing secretly hidden deep down. I prefer the light and easy burden of honesty. Carrying around lies and secrets is a dreadful way to live. Trust me, I lived that way for quite a long time.

So, when my wife asked me if I was hiding anything, I was able to freely and truthfully answer, "No." I am hiding nothing. I am completely hers - body, mind, and heart.

A major problem with infidelity is that the person who has been cheated on will compare themself to the "others." They will perpetually wonder why you chose physical/psychological intimacy with someone else. They will continue to feel less than good enough. Their self image, self respect, and self worth will have been thrust so far down that you might wonder if they can ever be built back up again.

I am here to tell you that there will be seasons. There will be ebbs and flows. The healing process takes a great deal of time.

If you are in the process of restoration, please know that there will be good days, and there will be bad days. Continue to love each other through the pain. Continue to stand hand in hand. Continue to stand side by side. Carry each other when you need to. Look to Christ Jesus always for your strength.

Blessings to you  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Different Kinds Of Haters

People like happy endings...

...apparently in movies, and books...

...but not necessarily in real life.

I guess we'd first need to come to an agreement about the true value of "happiness," vs. "joy."
The Bible teaches us to be joyful in situations when we face trials of many kinds. There is something greater and deeper in the realm of joy, than what is contained in mere pursuit of happiness. 

Happiness is fleeting, but joy can be everlasting.

Happiness depends on the subjective reaction to any and every situation.

Joy depends on the objective Truth and Hope, only to be found in Christ Jesus.

That leads me to the purpose of the title, "Different Kinds Of Haters."

In fiction, people want to hear the "happy ending," or the fairytale cliché, "...and they lived happily ever after." All you see or hear at the end of a story is a momentary slice of temporal satisfaction. You don't hear the real-life story of two sinful people living life together, trying to make things work.

Just to clarify, all people are sinful.

With two self-centered, sinful human beings, there will be conflict.

If you add the element of infidelity into the mix, you've just made matters 1,000,000 times worse.

However, the relationship doesn't have to end. (Please read my prior posts to understand where I'm coming from). With true repentance, forgiveness, and grace, a marriage can be restored.

Here is where we discover different kinds of haters.

In fiction, people want the standard happy ending. In reality - in situations involving infidelity - people want a different kind of "happy" ending. According to secular opinion, (and even in many Christian circles) the person in the relationship who has been wronged is justified in "dumping," or divorcing the cheating spouse.

When those people hear of situations like ours, they don't respond kindly. They take a combative and negative approach, "You're stupid for sticking around." "Once a cheater, always a cheater." "I'd throw his ____ out."

I'm not in support of any kind of infidelity (in the thought life, in your heart, or physically). However, I know it happens more often than we realize.

I also know firsthand that a person can repent. I know that a heart can become aligned with the will of Christ Jesus. I know that a restored marriage reflects the very Spirit of God.

We as a human race have turned from God. He loved us before we even knew Him. Even after we enter into a relationship with Him, we still have tendencies to "cheat" on Him (meaning that we sin against Him).

There is an eternal joy available to everyone who believes in Him. There is also a lasting joy that can be experienced when a broken relationship is mended.

Why not celebrate a relationship restored, rather than attack someone who has the courage and grace to forgive?

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Best Part of an Affair

If you are currently considering, thinking, fantasizing, or even curious about having an affair, I want to forewarn you that the best is not yet to come.

The best part of an affair begins with a lie.

That lie is smaller than a microscopic seed planted deeply in your mind.

That lie is the temptation that tells you, "This is what you need." "This is what you deserve." "This will give you the satisfaction you so deeply desire." "This will validate you as a person." "This will fulfill you." "This will feel good." "This will end your pain." "This is the solution."

Those are some of the lies I chose to believe.

There are many other things your temptation might say, but the point is - it's all lies.

Is anything wrong with temptation in and of itself? No. Jesus Himself endured temptation (Heb 4:15, Matt 4:1-11). It becomes wrong once we entertain the thought (Jas 1:15, Matt 5:28).

That decisive moment - the moment we entertain the thought, is honestly the best feeling in the entire ordeal. I'm not saying the feeling is good, noble, true, wonderful, or blissful in the honorable sense of the meaning. I'm saying that by looking at the arc of feelings and emotions tied to infidelity (or any sin for that matter), the best possible feeling happens in that moment of decision. From there, everything goes downhill.

You continue to tell yourself more lies to try and make yourself believe it's going to be wonderful. In reality, you're simply piling burden upon burden...creating an unbearable weight on your own shoulders.

C.S. Lewis alluded to the popular (and yet ludicrous idea), "...that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is...A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in."

Our culture in America teaches us to continually give in. "If it feels good, do it." That phrase has misguided people time and time again. What are we being sheltered from by giving in Mr. Lewis?

Ah yes - we are being sheltered from the Truth. Because if we walk "sheltered" by constantly "giving in," we bring about destruction not only to ourselves, but to those around us as well.
If we walk in the Truth, blessings are sure to follow.

Jesus said if we know the Truth, we would be free (John 8:32). He also said that His burden is light and easy (Matt 11:29), and He offered it to us in place of our self-destructive burdens.

If you are considering an affair, please believe me when I tell you that nothing good will come of it - only pain, heartache, and destruction.

Seek Godly counsel from a trusted pastor or friend. Most pastors are male, but when seeking this kind of counsel, do your best to seek out a member of the same gender as you.