Let Go of Stupid

November 23, 2014

(Start with clip from frozen:
Elsa song “Let it Go”)
That clip really didn’t have
anything to do with today’s message, there just wasn’t anything suitable for
today’s message and figured that was the title of the series we should tie it
in.
Last week it was announced that a
colleague of mine had confessed to having an affair.  Now for most of you that might spell the end
of your marriage but in this man’s case he found himself unemployed as well. 
He sold his marriage, his
relationship with his children, the respect of his peers and his career for
what?
A friend of mine told me the
other day that his sister in law had recently cheated on his brother and it
wasn’t looking good for their marriage. 
I don’t think any of us would
doubt that Jesus had a strong view on marriage. 
We often think that divorce is a recent innovation but rules and decrees
guiding how couples should split up are more common in the bible than how they
should hitch up.  You would be hard
pressed to find guidelines for what a wedding should look like in the bible but
you only have to go four books in to find the guidelines on how a marriage
should be ended.
And two thousand years ago there
were some of the same concerns about the sanctity of marriage, whether or not
divorce and marriage split ups were becoming way too prevalent as there are
today.  And so in the scripture that was
read earlier Jesus is teaching that in order to be a light to a corrupt society
that those who would follow Christ would have to live above the law. 
Jesus took a strong stand on
divorce, much stronger than the church takes today and that is a sermon for a
different day.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:31 “You have
heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a
written notice of divorce.’  That
was put in for the protection of the family and society.  A marriage couldn’t just be dissolved by one
partner or the other simply walking out, there was a process that had to be
followed. 
But for those who would follow
Christ it was to go to an even higher standard, because the Christian believed
that marriage was not a union of two but instead was a union of three. 
That God put them together and
nobody should split them up, nobody.  But
as strong as the bond of marriage was for Jesus he saw one exception and that
was given in Matthew 5:32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has
been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a
divorced woman also commits adultery.
Now some people see this as a loophole and others see this
as an exception but I think Jesus saw very clearly that nothing could break the
covenant like a physical betrayal, that a couple’s commitment to one another
was declared null and void with the act of adultery.  
It takes two very
special people to work through the damage left behind after an affair.
The Bible, the word of God takes
a very dim view of adultery, as a matter of fact adultery didn’t have to be
specified as a reason for divorce in the Old Testament.  Because in the Old Testament the punishment
for cheating was death by stoning and there was nothing to prevent a widow or
widower from remarrying.  I’ve said
before that while it may not have been a deterrent, it sure cut down on repeat
offenders. A view obviously shared by Loretta Lynn who said “My attitude
toward men who mess around is simple: If you find ’em, kill ’em.”
Some recent studies indicate that
50% of married men and women will have at least one extramarital affair during
their marriage.  Think about it, that’s
50 out of 100, 10 out of 20, 1 out of 2 married men and women will cheat on
their respective spouses.  Hilda Houlding
co-ordinator of the Calgary Family Service Bureau, made this comment “An affair is
often an attempt to find a little bit of paradise on the side, pursuing the
belief that if one just finds the right sexual partner there will be instant
happiness and everything will fall into place. 
An affair is often able to fulfil this myth, until itself becomes a
relationship that has to be worked at and looked at in a long term light.  Seen in this way “paradise” soon becomes a
prison”
I’m old enough to remember when Gary
Hart had to withdraw as a US presidential candidate because there was
speculation about an extramarital affair, and I remember the late 90’s when it seemed
that America was quite willing to accept the fact that not only was their
President an adulterer but was a serial adulterer.  
Today adultery has become almost
common place, not only has it reached almost crisis proportion out there, but
the crisis has spread into the church as well. 
That which was almost unthinkable in the church thirty years ago has
become all too common.
Keith Drury is an author and scholar
in the Wesleyan Church , listen to what he wrote, “The devil is a liar.  No one falls in this area without believing
some of the Devil’s lies.  God tells the
truth.  His word is light, not darkness.  The Devil may be multiplying his attack on
Christians because he has access to modern weapons like, TV, movies, videos,
sexual advertising, cable and satellite TV. 
He serves these stimulants daily in the living rooms of the average
Christian, especially those who ‘watch TV to unwind.””  That was written over twenty years ago, I wonder what Dr. Drury would
say about the Internet?
Too often when talking to people
whose marriage is in trouble they want to tell me what the other person is or
isn’t doing.  If I speak to someone who
becomes involved with someone else, by the way having an affair is just a
gussied up way of saying committing adultery, they tell me if their partner had
of done more of this and less of that then they wouldn’t have had to look for
love in all the wrong places.  And as
much as I wish I could give you a list of ways to keep your spouse from
cheating on you I can’t. 
And there isn’t anything you can
do, legally anyway, that would absolutely guarantee that your spouse will
always be faithful.  How often have you
heard of a marriage that seemed perfect and yet one or the other partner broke
their marriage vows? I’ve spoken to people whose partner cheated on them and
they’ve said “I thought everything was going great, I thought we were
happy.”  And I’ve even spoken to some
people who have cheated on their spouse who said “I don’t know why I did it,
everything was going great and we were happy and I just wasn’t thinking
straight.”
And so the title of today’s
message is “Let Go of Stupid”
Here is the bottom line: if we
are going to be faithful in our marriage it’s going to be up to us.  If you hope that today you will discover how
to keep your spouse from cheating on you, surprise.  You will never be able to control your partner’s
faithfulness, but you will always be responsible for your side of the
relationship.  How do you do that?  Good question.  The answer of course is that we work at
it.  Grab your pen, because here are
eight suggestions for affair proofing your marriage.  And I want to be upfront these aren’t’
original with Denn But come from Keith Drury.
1) Don’t Start Anything.  Sounds simple doesn’t it.  That fact of the matter is that adultery is
one of those things that starts innocently enough.  A mutual attraction to a neighbour,
co-worker, or even someone you go to church with.  You both understand each other so well.  You have so much in common with one another
and you enjoy those quiet moments you have together.
They seem more eager to listen to
you then your spouse does.  Soon there
are those special little words that are spoken softly between you.  The little pats, a gentle squeeze of your
arm, a meaningful glance, a lingering gaze, a quick hug, a short embrace, and
eventually you have been led down a path you never intended to walk.  Someone said “Every affair begins with a
smile”.
Don’t start up the ladder of
affection with anyone other than your spouse. 
Did you hear that? Don’t start up the ladder of affection with anyone
other than your spouse.  Listen to what
Solomon reminded us of three thousand years ago, Proverbs 6:27-29 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his
clothes catch on fire? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it
is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will
not go unpunished.
Words from a man who knew what he was talking about
considering that he was the result of the adulterous affair between his father,
King David and Bathsheba.  If you are
involved at any stage of affectionate expression with anyone other than your
mate than you are playing with fire. 
Stop.  Turn around and turn
back.  I’m not saying that you can’t be
friends with members of the opposite sex, but you know what I’m saying. 
Sue Johanson who hosted a
show on WTN says: “You can’t say, ‘I didn’t know what
would happen.’ That’s a crock. You knew with the sweaty palms and sweaty pits.
You knew with the long gazes. You made the decision not to decide and you let
it just happen.”  If you are
climbing the ladder of affection, then get down, right now, don’t fool yourself
into thinking that you are in control. 
The best time to stop disobedience is today
2) Listen To Your Spouse This one is especially for
you guys.  God seems to have given women
the special ability to identify a strange woman on their turf. 

Don’t write off spousal comments as jealousy, and even if at this point it is innocent,
it may not appear that way to them, and you can stand the warning.

If your spouse questions your relationship with someone of
the opposite sex pay attention, they may notice a come on before you do. 
3) Tell On The Other Person.  If someone begins to quietly come on to
you, then fink on them.  Tell your
partner that very day, don’t wait until tomorrow to see if it happens again,
tell your spouse before you go to bed. 
Your spouse is supposed to be the most important person in your life,
let them help you deal with the problem. 
Sometimes it’s an ego problem. 
It’s been so long since anyone flirted with you, you had forgotten how
good it felt, and besides it’s not like it’s hurting anyone, and you wouldn’t
think of taking it any further.  Stop
it. 
You are in this marriage together and both of you need to
learn to protect your relationship with each other and with God.  Do it and do it fast.  Tell your spouse if you suspect anyone; don’t
play his or her game.  The quicker you
realize that you are in this together trying to protect your marriage the
better.
4) Don’t Spend Time Alone With The Opposite Sex.  Keith Drury has this to say to Pastors “He who meets
another woman alone in private hath no brains!”  Don’t place yourself into a situation where
there is temptation or where temptation can be acted on.  It’s surprising  how many martial indiscretions and outright
adultery have sprung out of relationships established on the premise of “giving
spiritual help” or “sharing our problems together” Hah!
Do you remember what Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:13 NIV
And lead us not into temptation,  but
deliver us from the evil one.’     
Only sometimes we don’t need a
whole lot of leading, do we?  We can do a
pretty good job of finding temptation all by ourselves. 

When I talk to teens and young adults about their dating
habits I often warn them to stay out of situations where they are placing
themselves into areas of greater temptation. 
Parking on lonely country roads, being home together when there is no
one else around.  There are some areas
that are danger zones not only for teens but also for adults, and we need to
recognize them and stay away from them. 
“The person who meets with someone of the opposite sex who is not their
spouse alone in private, hath no brains.”
5) Drink From Your Own Spring.  Proverbs 5:15 Drink water
from your own well— share your love only with your wife.  It has been said that the best defence
is a good offence.  Though it’s not a
guarantee, “Keeping the fires hot at home,” is a good defence against
temptation.  That has always been the
case check out what Paul wrote almost two thousand years ago, in a letter to
the church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 But
because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife,
and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his
wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife
gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority
over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations,
unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you
can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come
together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of
self-control.
The CEV says don’t refuse, the NIV translates it
don’t deprive each other and the Authorized Version tells us not to defraud
each other. 
And that’s what happens
when you provide a dry or boring spring at home.  Hey guys and girls, sex wasn’t the devil’s
idea it was God’s and sexual fulfilment in marriage is God’s plan.
But listen up; don’t allow Satan to suggest that any lack of
fulfilment in your marriage justifies a little sin to make up for it. 
It don’t, never has, never will.
On the other hand if’n you’re not providing a spring to be
drunk from at home and your spouse goes looking for a drink elsewhere, while
they aren’t justified you are not entirely without blame. 
And the spring isn’t’ just a sexual one, make sure that your
spouse wants to spend time with you. . . 
If you are negative and miserable to be around your spouse might very
well find someplace else to go.  One
Colorado psychologist’s summary of more than a decades work counselling “The
other woman” argues that the common trait that the “other woman” all share is
being a good listener.
6) Be Aware of Emotional Adultery This is one of the
first steps up the ladder of affection. 
Beware of getting emotionally attached to someone of the opposite sex
who is not your spouse.  I know that I’m
sounding a bit extreme but affairs start in mostly innocent situations.  Emotional attachments can lead to explosive
situations where temptations come crashing in with unexpected force.
Emotional relationships often develop into something more
and end up in disaster.  And even if they
don’t lead to sin, they can hinder your own marriage relationship.  If you are getting your emotional needs met
somewhere other than home than you are leaving a gap in your relationship with
your spouse.   And that includes
relationships that develop online.
Emotional attachments are explosive, they can cause someone
to fall in love with someone or they can cause you to fall for someone else
“who seems to understands me so well” or they can cause such deep emotional
bonding that you find it impossible to walk away.  If you are bonding emotionally with someone
other than your mate then walk away from it before it ruins you.
7) Get Control Of Your Thought Life.   Long before an affair happens physically
it happens mentally.  Listen to the words
of a Minister who ended up with a ruined marriage and a ruined ministry after a
one night stand “adultery isn’t something that
happens with the act — it happens months beforehand. It’s an attitude. You
disconnect yourself from the person you’ve said you’re spending the rest of
your life with.”  Those
thoughts may differ whether you’re a man or a woman.  With men they are more apt to be sexual fantasies
with a woman romantic fantasies but if they involve someone other than your
spouse they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
 
You say “But they are only thoughts” sure they are, that’s
why Conway
Twitty wrote in one song, “We’re not exactly strangers you and I, because
I’ve already loved you in my mind.” 
And why Jesus told us in Matthew 5:28 But I say,
anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with
her in his heart.  And I don’t
think it would be unfair to the scriptures to say Matthew 5:28
But I say, anyone who even looks at a man with lust has already committed
adultery with him in her heart.
If you are keeping pure actions toward someone, and have not
uttered even the slightest words of attachment, yet you are guilty of impure
thoughts, then you are perching on a precarious cliff which leads nowhere but
over the brink into deeper and deeper violations of God’s law.
Who do you think you are? 
Do you believe that you will be the first to escape God’s law?  Do you think that you can play with fantasy
fire without burning your soul?  Do you
truly believe that you can keep God’s anointing on your life even as you dwell
on thoughts of disobedience? 
I’m not talking about temptation here, you will probably
never escape that in this life.  I’m
talking about wilfully dwelling on impure thoughts, about thinking about them
on purpose, playing and replaying them over and over again in your mind like a
video.  That my friends is sin.
There is incredible power in the mind, power that can be
focused on good or on evil.  Bring your
thought life into captivity, before it brings you into captivity.  Find out what triggers those thoughts and
starve the source, it might be certain people, times, memories, places,
television shows, movies or websites. 
Jesus said in Matthew 5:29 So if your
eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It
is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be
thrown into hell.  Now we’re not
into self-mutilation, but there may be some areas of your life that need to be
poked out, for your own protection and the protection of your marriage.
8) Recognize That You Will Get Caught.  This is the bottom line people, you will
get caught.  Are you involved in a
suspicious relationship right now?  Maybe
nobody knows about it.  It’s a
secret.  You may think you are getting
away with it.  Satan is telling you that
you will never get caught.  You believe
that you are the exception and you are wrong. 
You will get caught.  Satan is a
liar, and the word of God is the ultimate truth and it says in the Bible, the
word of God in the book of Numbers 32:23. . . and you may be sure
that your sin will find you out. 
Sinners have always believed that they could get away with
sin.  From day one they believe
that.  Adam and Eve believed it and they
got caught.  Cain thought he got away
with murder and he got caught.  Rebecca
and Jacob thought they had deceived everyone but they got caught.  Joseph’s brothers thought they had committed
the perfect crime, but they got caught. 
Moses thought he’d buried his sin in the sand, but he got caught.  Achan got caught, Saul got caught, David got
caught, Jonah got caught, Anianas and Sapphira got caught, Jimmy Swaggart got
caught, Gary Hart got caught and so did Bill Clinton, a couple of times.  Well you know what Billy Sunday said, “Sin can be forgiven, but stupid is forever.”  It’s simple, sinners get caught.
Do you really think that you can get away with a little
sin?  What makes you think that you will
do what others haven’t?  Do you think you
can break God’s universal laws of life and get away with it? Do you think that
you will be the first person who gets away with sin?  Friend you will be like every other sinner
throughout history, you will get caught.

How?  I don’t know,
maybe the other person will get a case of the guilts and confess, it’s happened
before.  Or maybe someone else will
tell.  You think that nobody knows?  When you are sinning Satan tricks you into
believing that you are invisible, you’re not. 
Someone will see you.  Or maybe
the burden of guilt will get so great that you will confess.  You may even get away with it for a while.  If you do, than you will get more and more
bold in your sin, and that in itself will make the sin so obvious that you will
eventually cause yourself to get caught.
The devil promises you all the kingdoms of the world, if you
will simply bow down and worship at his altar of impure desires.  But you can’t have it all.  God says that your sin will find you out and
you will have to pay the price, and God is the truth.
You cannot make your spouse be faithful, but you and only
you are responsible for how faithful you are going to be in your marriage.

As serious as physical adultery is, and it is serious, there
is a game that is even more dangerous than that.  There may not be anyone here today who is
cheating on their spouse, but I’m sure there are those here today who are
cheating on God.  Yep, the bible talks
about us being unfaithful to God.  As a
matter of fact there is an entire book of the Bible which compares those who
aren’t in step with God to a cheating spouse. 
Maybe you know that you have wandered away from God, you maybe you’ve
never made the commitment in the first place. 
But there is only one who can make it and only one who can keep it and
that is you.  God has already made it
clear that he is going to be faithful in the book of Hebrews 13:5 it says: God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon
you.”