It is because He knew what I’ve been writing about for several paragraphs (if you need a refresher, just read the first part post). Pardon me for being graphic, but a man who does commit adultery just doesn’t fall naked in between a woman’s legs one day while running errands and minding their own business. Before the act which most people would draw the line at (the physical act of sex), a seed is born within thought. That is where it must be destroyed first, upon inception.
We must realize that there is no act which isn’t preceded by thought first. We harbor hate for someone before we blow up and cause a huge fight. We fantasize about hitting the jackpot before we get lost in gambling. We think about how we need to escape before getting smashed-drunk at a local bar. Everything we do starts with a thought, and that thought if not destroyed breeds into more or more detailed thoughts, and then into small actions.
Back to an adultery example. A married woman sees a man at the gym who not only looks hot, but is extremely nice, funny and carries himself with confidence. Admiring those traits is not sinful, neither is exchanging a friendly “hello”, but bringing it up to the next level and wondering what it would be like to go out on a date with him is. That is the sinful thought where it all starts. After having a thought she doesn’t immediately jump in the sack (however, that isn’t unheard of), but she fantasizes what his chest really looks like under that tight shirt.
She has seen him in a business suit, but imagines what he looks like in a swim suit. She may not immediately fantasize about sex, but does picture them going on a date with dim lighting and a fireplace. The brief “hellos” turn to mild flirting, and now a month later those thoughts as subtle and private as they may have started, start working themselves into jokes and flirting. She schedules her workout times around his, and soon they share workout machines together. Catching a lunch together really gets into the grey area for her, as she keeps him secret from her husband, even if no physical contact has happened.
However, as the workouts continue, having him “spot” her on squats becomes her favorite exercise as his hands guide her hips to proper form. Goodbye hugs last longer, fantasies in between workouts get more detailed and lunches move later in the day. As her husband leaves for a week long business trip a gym workout starts at 6pm, making their first dinner date very convenient. A trip back to his place to check out his new workout mail order product leads to a massage from the tough exercises, and then to… well you know what.
Notice once again how everything was birthed from thought. After first seeing him at the gym, they didn’t end up at his place one weekend night taking each other clothes off. One sinful thought led to a couple more, which led to some more detailed dreaming. Before she knew it those “harmless” thoughts led to acting out in a “harmless” way. Commenting on the shape of his butt, or the muscular lines in his arms gives way to touching, etc., etc.
The addiction was to him, his attention, his good looks and thoughts of what he could give her. She found herself half way through the experience with wanting to stop, knowing it is wrong, but thinking she could control where it was going. At each and every step she made a knew limit. First it was stopping at thoughts, then stopping at just the hellos, then putting the brakes at workouts, then lunches. She may not have even intended go back to his place that weekend night, but she pushed back her rules and thought she could stop whenever she wanted to.
However everything about him was intoxicating just like any drug. He was sweet at dinner, paid for the bill and was even going to be a great workout partner and show her a new workout machine he brought through an info commercial. But the addiction was too strong, and something she would have never even imagined she would have done 90 days ago was now a done deal. On the car ride home she has shameful feelings, regretting it going that far. She creates this timeline in her head, trying to figure out where she crossed the line. Finally she realizes she crossed it way back in the gym almost three months ago when instead of admiring, she lusted.
She is on the other side of sin.
She realizes what she did was wrong, and although still very much attracted to him, can’t figure out why she would risk her marriage and relationship with her two children. Yes, he was extremely nice, and very polite, but was he really worth tarnishing her respective reputation around town and in her social circles? Of course not. That is the other side of sin. Our perspective is more holistic, as we see the full ramifications of not just our actions, but thoughts.
The point of this writing is to have us all be more aware that we have two perspectives, and you don’t need to commit a sin in order to see what happens on the other side of it. Killing the thought before it grows is the key to stopping not only rare sins, but habitual sins. The better we can get at that, the more we’ll stay on the side of sin which doesn’t end in broken lives.