Recently Leadership Magazine commissioned a poll of a thousand pastors. The pastors indicated that 12 percent of them had committed adultery while in ministry – one out of eight pastors! – and 23 percent had done something they considered sexually inappropriate. Christianity Today surveyed a thousand of its subscribers who were not pastors and found the figure to be nearly double, with 23 percent saying they had had extramarital intercourse and 45 percent indicating they had done something they themselves deemed sexually inappropriate. One in four Christian men are unfaithful, and nearly one half have behaved unbecomingly! Shocking statistics! Especially when we remember that Christianity Today readers tend to be college-educated church leaders, elders, deacons, Sunday school superintendents, and teachers. If this is so for the Church’s leadership, how much more for the average member of the congregation? Only God knows!
It is a morbid and depressing fact that when it comes to adultery, there are too many casualties among pastors. Ministers are just as vulnerable as others. No area, no country, no denomination is immune. The damage done in each case is irreparable: the breakdown, as far as ministry is concerned, final. This is a distasteful subject, but we cannot shirk it. The matter demands faithful treatment. Let him who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all others kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union [of marriage].
Even adultery is not the unforgiveable sin. It is a terrible sin, but God forbid that there should be anyone who feels that he or she has sinned himself or herself outside the love of God or outside His kingdom because of adultery. No; if you truly repent and realize the enormity of your sin and cast yourself upon the boundless love and mercy and grace of God, you can be forgiven and I assure you of pardon. But hear the words of our blessed Lord: “Go and sin no more.”
In its most technical sense, committing adultery refers to sexual intercourse between a man and woman when one or both of them is married.
You must completely end the adulterous affair. This other person must be plainly told that the relationship is over. If possible, ask for forgiveness (preferably on a conference call with your spouse or pastor on the line) for your selfishness and deceit. There can be no continuing communication (no secret rendezvous, telephone calls, cards, letters, or e-mails). The other person should be emphatically told not to contact you anymore. You must be willing to amputate from your life anything that will tempt you to reopen this [relationship]… Don’t keep any mementos, photographs, keepsakes, or other memorabilia that might tempt you to spend time thinking about (and fueling romantic feelings for) the other person. You may have to change your telephone number, your e-mail address, or the route you take to and from the office… [Now you will have to take the] money, time, thoughts, dreams, affection, initiative, and creative energies [that you spent on] the other person…[and reinvest them] with your spouse.
It has always been true that the best defense against adultery is a happy marriage.
Adultery is an obvious violation of the rights of another. You are stealing what doesn’t belong to you.