“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.”
Playing With Fire
Do you remember how the king of the monkeys in The Jungle Book wanted to learn the secret of man’s red fire? Like the monkey king I used to be fascinated by fire when I was a child. I just loved to strike matches and make fire. I especially enjoyed bonfires and always looked forward to the annual celebration of bonfire night on 5 November. Where I lived in Guernsey people from our road would meet at one of the vineries where there would be a massive bonfire, soup, hot dogs, and fireworks. Bonfire night was a real treat for the kids, but we were always warned to keep a safe distance from the fire and not to pick up the remnants of any fireworks. Our parents knew the dangers and taught us that if we played with fire we would probably get burned.
Desire is no different to fire. If you desire the wife or husband of another person and surrender to your desire you will get burned. The problem is that fire is hard to contain and inevitably causes devastation elsewhere. Images of firefighters trying to extinguish wild fires come to mind. In similar fashion extramarital activity usually causes untold damage to many lives.
The Church is not immune. Satan loves to mess up Christian marriages. Why else would such warnings be included in Scripture? God gave men and women a special gift. He intended it to be used within the boundaries of marriage. This was defined from the very beginning as ‘one man, one woman, together for life’ (Genesis 2:22-24).
I have watched first hand as friends have been tempted from their marriage partners, and I have witnessed the damage, much of it collateral. They always begin with excuses such as “I don’t think I ever loved her in the first place.” They talk themselves into believing that no one will be hurt. They tell friends that what they are doing is for the best. But these are not excuses, they are lies. It is inevitable that adults and children will be damaged by the pain and the hurt, that lives will disintegrate, and tears will flow.
If you play with fire you will get burned. But so will others. You have been warned.