By Ovundah Nyeche.
Adultery, needs no introduction, it is a word a lot of people in church will not want to be associated with openly. In my previous church, getting or having this name around you could risk you been flung into a not so special seat known as ‘back seat.’
These days however, it is now very popular and has several monikers like fling, affair, cheating, two timing, fooling around, playing around, playing the field, carryings on, hanky-panky amongst others.
Christian or not, opportunities for adultery subtly stare us on the face every day in the work place, at home, religious places, online, social media, recreational areas, occasions amongst others even though the holy writ tells us in clear terms ‘You must not commit adultery.’
Ever watched a mason try to break a wall with a hammer? I have, and many times when the wall is made of reinforced concrete, it is difficult to break. 5 blows and the wall still stands, 7 blows and it is still standing and at the 8th blow the portion of the wall been hammered falls out. For most believers, adultery is similar to this process; as they are very unlikely to enter head-on into adultery, as it is usually a gradual process, step by step, day by day- Slow fade.
However whether gradual or not, it is happening. In some countries pastors are resigning due to adultery, in others some are confessing openly to their congregations, in some others it has led to divorce, in some others it has turned to a habit and hence their messages has shifted to fit their lifestyles. If shepherds who are supposedly above board are involved in this, how much more the sheep or those they lead.
Carder in the book Torn Asunder: Recovering from Extramarital Affairs notes that adultery and divorce rates in the evangelical population are nearly the same as the general population in the United States.
A Christianity Today survey found that 23 % (69) of the 300 pastors who responded admitted to sexually inappropriate behaviour with someone other than their wives while in the ministry.
The Journal of Psychology and Christianity adds that as many as 65 % of men and 55 % of women will have an extramarital affair by the time they are 40.
The statistics are alarming, coming home, it does not make for good reading.
Our focus today will be to look at pitfalls that could lead to adultery and how to avoid and end them if we are already in this dangerous hole:
- Call things what they are: These days many consider the word adultery too judgemental and harsh, and sequel to that many euphemistic terms like playing around, playing the field, carryings on, hanky-panky amongst others have arisen. However calling a venomous snake a beautiful name and kissing it to emphasize the beautiful name does not eradicate the venom. Thousands of years ago, Joseph was in an awkward situation with the wife of an important official in Egypt. She liked him, flirted around him, initiated the move, and demanded sex from him. Rather than call it an affair or fling or justify it, since he was not the one pushing for it, he called it what it was, a ‘wicked thing and a great sin against God.’ Adultery is a great sin and a wicked thing, end of story.
- Friendly fire: What kind of friends do you hang around with? Years ago, when I was a medical student, I had a roommate who said a particular slang and even though I did not really spend so much time in the room, with my roommates, due to preparations for my exams, I soon picked up the slang. What happened? Influence happened, and influence still happens. If you wish to stay sexually pure and yes you should, you have to be very careful of the kind of friends you hang around with and those who speak into your ears. If the words of your friends, even on social media, shakes your conviction about keeping your marriage vow, them you may need to change your friends. It is only a matter of time for fingers dipped into an oily meal to get stained.
- Body no be firewood: Truly speaking, you are not a firewood and you have emotions. In fact what flows through your veins and arteries is blood laden with hormones and not olive or anointing oil. This means whether you are a man of God or god of man, you are a man and you have feeling and can be tempted. Hence you have to avoid spending time with those of the opposite sex alone, whether it is for counselling, prayers or even communion. Spending intimate moments with any person of the opposite sex in the guise of any ministerial assignment is looking for trouble. Billy Graham famously had a rule which prevented him or members of his team from spending time alone with those of the opposite sex, this also included even suggestions or hints of sexual immorality. While it is not bad to have friends of the opposite sex, it is extremely important that you never overestimate your strength and you must draw appropriate boundaries with those of the opposite sex not your spouse. Your secretary, choir mistress or that loyal lady not married to you, is not your spouse keep off!
- Tend your garden: Avoid discussing your marital problems with people of the opposite sex, especially if you know it is possible to have feeling for them. It is also not wise to constantly spend time on phone with people of the opposite sex and discuss intimate matters with them, you never discuss with your spouse. What will it profit you never to speak with your spouse, but speak endlessly with others? What will it profit you never to satisfy your spouse sexually, but mope outside? Many people are married, but invest their emotions on others not their spouse, it is also not wise wishing another person is your spouse because he or she treats you better. Truly speaking, the garden grows where it is tended and watered. Flaunt your spouse and be proud of her. Your marriage will work.
- Pay back: In our world ‘do me, I do you, God no go vex’ is something a lot of people revel in. But for the Christian, this is not our nature. It is not in your best interest for you to pay adultery back with adultery. Even if it may be a tenable excuse, but in the sight of God, it makes no sense and is a sin. An eye for an eye, soon makes everyone blind; forgive if your spouse has hurt you.
- Hide and seek: Don’t start what you cannot finish. To what end is hiding to make calls, deleting inappropriate text messages, sending nudes to others, having amorous glances with people not your spouse? To what end is having mental pictures of hanky-panky and fantasizing with people not your spouse? Truly speaking not everyone married the first person they dated; and not everyone had only one person they had feelings for. Once you are married, it is advisable to cut any love channel or cord that attaches you to your ex. It is also not advisable to be married and be in amorous terms with your ex or anyone of the opposite sex; and know all the fine details in their lives, focus on your marriage and build it. In some cases it may be wisdom to block your ex/s on social media or even change your social media handles. Take anything that reminds you of them out of side and then out of mind.
- Wrong ideologies: A lot of people enter marriage with warped ideologies. Some enter saying it is a man’s world and the man is allowed to cheat, and coat it by saying men are polygamous in nature… Christians oh. Some say there is no big deal in a woman cheating and spin it by saying if it is not a big deal for a man to cheat, why would it be for a woman to cheat. Well Heb 13:4 ‘Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery’ is still in the Bible; also God does not judge males and females with different standards when it has to do with sexual immorality.
- Transparency pays: What is there to say about this…transparency pays.
- Seek help: A problem identified is half solved, see eh, if you are weighed down by the weight of adultery. Confess your sins to God, he will forgive you, seek forgiveness from your spouse, it will surely not be easy and trust me, it may certainly come with dire consequences as your spouse is likely going to be heart broken and it could take time for trust to be regained. But, many times, it is better, it is heard from your mouth, than from another.
Also if your spouse opens up to you, it will help if you pray for them and forgive them. Also more than confessing, it is important you ask for the help of the Holy Spirit and go through counselling/ discipleship.
Help is available if you seek for it, talk to God about your marriage right now, our marriages are fire proof in Jesus name. If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, talk to him to come into your life, He will.
The Parable of the Forgotten Shoes
By Benjamin Dike
So this was how I was dressed in church today!
Forgot my shoes? No. My wife did. Before you think my wife practically slaves for me, she doesn’t. She is actually the boss; I live in her house. So here is what happened.
We had got set for church and I was carrying things to the car. As I stooped to pick my shoes (I don’t like driving with my shoes on if I can help it), she offered to help me bring the shoes to the car.
I pulled out the car and we drive to church. Then I asked her for my shoes. Now you already know the response. She had forgotten the shoes at home. First, I ‘froze’. This was quite serious. I can’t go home to get the shoes. Home is on the Island; Church is on the mainland. Then I was about saying, But I wanted to pick the shoes and you … (Yeah, at least I should blame her). But one look at her stopped me in my tracks. She looked so subdued and beaten like a little child.
This woman is one of the most meticulous persons I know. I can keep something somewhere in her absence and will later forget where I kept it. My only hope is my wife or the Holy Spirit (when she is not available). I will just tell her that I am looking for so and so and she will either tell me where it is or she will go find it. So, one look at Madam Meticulous, I felt enormous pity (or was it compassion) well up inside me. She obviously had no bad intentions. Things just happen sometimes.
I chuckled and told her not to worry. My mood shifted immediately. It was now a sense of excitement to dress up in my nice suit – with a slipper on! I will look different, I told myself. And I will leave people guessing – that is if they even notice! (Often we forget that people are busy focusing on themselves that they may not even notice the shoes you are wearing).
I started looking forward to it. Then I asked myself, what has my dressing got to do with my worship after all? Wow! It felt so liberating. It was a powerful deliverance from human expectations and convention. It was a refocusing on what really matters. Perhaps, it’s really my heart that matters, my heart that God cares about, not merely the outer trappings. Don’t get me wrong, proper dressing is proper – when you can help it! But now, I couldn’t help it. And I wasn’t about to ruin my day and my worship on the altar of a ‘forgotten shoes’.
Meanwhile, my wife was still deeply beaten and looking for how to fix the ‘mess’. She got one of my young men to go home and get me his shoes. But I flatly refused. I was just fine. Sometimes a little bit of mischief can spice up life. And I was loving the mischief of a suit with some marching slippers!
So here are 4 quick lessons that came to mind
1) How you live your day is a choice – joy or ruin.
2) Sometimes, people don’t wrong you because they are bad. It’s just because they are people – they can fail.
3) What if we were to judge people by their true intentions and not their actions. Maybe we will have better relationships. The reality is that we often judge people by their actions while we judge ourselves by our intentions.
4) What you see as a problem is what becomes a problem. A messy situation is really a matter of interpretation.
My friends, trust me, I had a very beautiful time in church today – shoes or no shoes. So, focus on what’s important and free yourself from the needless clutter than ruin your fun in life.
Choose to enjoy your life, mbok!
Benjamin C. Dike, PhD
Benjamin is the executive Chairman of Joshua Leadership Project. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom and a Doctorate degree in Credit Management from the International University of Panama. Benjamin is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a Fellow of both the Institute of Credit Administration and the Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria. A prolific and insightful writer, he has several published works, including God of My Right Hand and EveryDay Leadership.
Don’t Fake it, Face it…
By Ovundah Nyeche.
Few days ago, I called a friend on phone and told him I needed to see him urgently. We had fixed meetings several times in the past, but work and other things prevented these from holding. This time however, the meeting had to hold.
He breathed heavily when he picked up the phone, and asked me, ‘Ovd did my wife call you?’, a question I did not answer. In response I told him we should meet the following day at a particular venue for a man-to-man talk.
The day of the meeting came and we sat down, man-to-man, brother-to-brother. We talked, no holds barred and at the end, he said ‘Bro, I did not see this stuff in this light, I feel very sorry. I have to make peace’. He left the meeting much better than he came, and he made commitments to stop the offence that caused the issue and immediately ended all appointments and made plans to go home to his wife.
I smiled. I have also been on the hot seat, one call to mentors or friends when I no dey hear word and I am put in my place and vice versa. No, my own relationship is not without its own challenges.
I called to follow up later on my friends and it was as though a problem that had lasted years had disappeared, and the smiles and number of ‘Thank yous’ on the other side of the phone was enough to build a flyover.
This is why I shake my head when I see couples build their home on the erroneous maxim ‘a third party must never know what is happening in your home’. This sounds nice, sweet and motivational but in many cases it backfires.
Sassy and Lassy are breaking up after 1 year in marriage and you ask to know what the issue is or was and you find out they are issues that if they were sorted out in time would not have resulted in the mountain or chasm that the problem now looks like or if counsel was sought on time they would have found out that they were not the only ones who had that issue, and it is actually not an issue if faced with wisdom.
Unsurprisingly, many things people face are not unique and many times not novel.
This journey is too important to isolate yourself from wise counsel and from people that can make you accountable, people that can mentor you and guide you in the right path.
Today Hear Word and do the right thing.
Today Hear Word and invest in the right relationships.
Today Hear Word and be intentional about the success of your marriage.
Today Hear Word and suffocate needless problems.
Today, Hear Word.
Hearword #ovdspeaks #HearWordSeries
House Rent Palaver.
By Ovundah Nyeche.
When you get married, apart from your children school fees, one issue that will talk to you every year/season, if you stay in a country like Nigeria and you don’t have your property, stay in your organization’s accommodation, or have your accommodation sorted out by your organization, is the issue of house rent.
Yes, house rents speaks so loud…and house rents can cause family problems if not tackled with wisdom, reality and the truth.
As a couple, it is important you tell yourself basic truths about your finances and plan accordingly.
Yes your ‘levels’ may be saying GRA or Peter Odili road or Banana Island, but what does your pocket say? Knowing that in 12 months time, the house rent bell will ring again…and for unexplained reasons it is usually easier to pay the first rent than subsequent ones in many cases.
Like someone advised your yearly house rent should not be more than 20% of your yearly income or yearly profi and trust me ‘e no easy to bring out’ the whole rent at once, so it may be wisdom to save monthly for it. So if you can’t bring out (let’s say your house rent is #1,000,000 yearly) #100,000 monthly comfortably, it may be very difficult to pay the #1,000,000 at once and it may be a pointer, that you are living above your means.
May the Lord grant us wisdom and may you not live your life on other people’s impression about you…or plan your budget based on the circle of friends you belong to. All fingers are not equal, even if they are part of the same hand.
Telling yourselves basic truths, can save your family a whole lot of headache…yes, life is not always straight forward and hard times and emergencies can sometimes come unannounced, but to the best of your abilities, be truthful to yourselves.
Like a proverb says “No look another person pot of soup, do garri”…’e go shock you’.
May wisdom lead you.
#HearWord #ovdspeaks #HearWordseries
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