The following is an excerpt from the book, Courage to Flee, by Dr. Jeffrey Klick.
This is the second of a two-part feature.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
Most of us know the old saying, “If you play with fire, you will get burned.” Many of us have relational scars that we received from not heeding this warning. Experience may be an excellent teacher, but it is not the best or only way to learn. Those of us who are scarred from playing with fire plead with those yet unmarked to flee the flames! Become a prudent man or woman and hide yourself from the dangers discussed in this book! Learn from others who bear the marks of foolish choices. Examine the lives of men in the scripture who were trapped in immorality and learn from their choices. David, Solomon, and Sampson would all be excellent studies to begin to understand the scars that are earned by playing with sexual fire. Eyes were lost and kingdoms destroyed because these men did not flee from temptation. In our day, one does not have to search too hard to find men of God who have fallen into shameful behaviors and lost thriving ministries. If we could learn from observing others, we could avoid a great deal of pain and heartache.
God designed men and women to be attracted to each other and ignoring this fact is like standing on the top of that hill, covered with oil, blindfolded. I am not a psychiatrist, sociologist, or any other “ist,” but a pastor who has spent the better part of his life attempting to help people who have taken a tumble down that oil-covered hill because they did not understand basic human nature. I am not a math major either; however, I do understand one formula very well:
Men + women in close proximity for extended periods of time will very quickly = a problem.
The attraction will be different from the male and female vantage points, but the root problem is the same. God designed men and women to be attractive to each other and our history has proved this true. Given this undeniable fact, we must be careful, we must take precautions, and we must be prepared to deal with it in a righteous manner.
Compromise begins for a pastor when he spends time alone with a woman other than his wife. Counseling, praying with and for someone, talking on the phone, and offering protection and spiritual leadership are all acceptable practices for a pastor, while being a recipe for disaster if they are not balanced out with some common sense. A pastor should not take the place of the husband or father, and a man is foolish if he allows himself to be placed in this position. I will explain in more detail later how to set up acceptable guidelines to help, but the pastor needs to make sure his motives are right and pure before God whenever he is talking with a woman who is not his wife. Pastors are people and are therefore subject to the same temptations, desires, and lies as all other humans. Women trapped in unhappy marriages often idolize and fantasize about their pastors, so we must be extremely careful when we interact with those women. The pastor who only attempts to control or deny his emotions in the face of sexual temptations, instead of fleeing, will probably fail. Our newspapers and news outlets are littered with many stories of such failures of men of God who did not flee. The damage caused by these moral failures have crippled and destroyed many successful works across our nation, and only God knows the damage caused to the sheep by the failure of the undershepherds. While not venturing into the theology associated with salvation, many have rejected Christ and blamed the sexual failures of these ministers as their reason for rejecting Christianity. I believe we will give an account someday of what we have done before our Lord. If we fail sexually, we will have to explain to the Ultimate Purity why we chose to pursue impurity.
The attraction between male and female is so strong that it is unwise for men and women who are not married to have close friendships or repeated interactions with people of the opposite sex. Are you saying that couples should not be friends with other couples? No, but they should be friends as couples. A husband who has an intimate relationship with another man’s wife is heading for trouble and vice versa. Spending time alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse opens the door to thoughts and temptations that you should not allow in. I have known many couples who destroyed both their marriages by not following these cautions. For example, one woman began to ride on the back of a motorcycle with her friend’s husband. Soon they found many interests in common and the rides became more frequent. Instead of holding the bar on the seat, it was perfectly natural to hold on to the driver. It was not long before both marriages were destroyed. Bonding through frequent communication begins quickly and is extremely difficult to un-bond. Why do an estimated 85 percent of affairs occur in the workplace if this is not true? Why do so many who participate in the theater end up in relational difficulty? I am not opposed to the arts, but people are simply not thinking properly if they do not realize that intense communication, physical contact, and extended time together between male and female can lead to disaster. Common sense would dictate that kissing, touching, and lovingly looking into someone of the opposite sex’s eyes can lead to trouble, even if the participants are only “acting.” We are all familiar with the swapping of mates common in Hollywood but seem to ignore the possibility and temptations in Christian productions. A large church had an annual Easter production that was the envy of the city. Each year hundreds of people would volunteer to make this production spectacular. Men and women would spend at least four months giving large chunks of their time, often late into the night, preparing for the production. Is it any wonder that, just about every year, affairs took place and marriages ended up being destroyed? Spending hours in conversation with or touching someone other than your spouse places you on the top of the oil-covered hill. We must take off our blindfolds and carefully descend from this dangerous place before we find ourselves tumbling down headfirst out of control!
How does someone end up in an emotional entanglement or a physically immoral relationship while professing the Lordship of Jesus? It begins with compromise and line crossing and continues with ignoring the opportunities to flee temptation provided by God.
In the next chapter, we will examine how our thinking ultimately leads to action, but before moving on, stop and consider some of what was written in the first chapter. Prayerfully think about these questions and take whatever action is necessary to keep yourself morally pure.
Questions to Pray About:
Are you involved in a relationship that is leading you up the oil-covered hill? Are you attracted to someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse? Are you involved in anything that would bring you embarrassment if discovered by others? Are you spending time with someone other than your spouse and enjoying it in an improper way? Have you made any little compromises that will lead to a big disaster? Are you ready to flee for the sake of your family and your relationship with God?
This is Part 2 of a two-part post.