On Sunday evening I spoke on Proverbs 5-7 which has much to say to the subject of unfaithfulness.
Proverbs 7 has an extended parable about a simple youth who mindlessly walks past the door of danger and finds himself enticed in, as an ox to the slaughter. And it struck me in preparing that so often these things happen, not because people are planning and plotting affairs (although the Ashley Madison story says otherwise) , but simply because people are daft enough (what Proverbs calls ‘folly’) to walk too close to that door.
It’s a bit like a domino rally – knock the first domino over and who knows where the thing might stop. I encouraged our folk to think about three areas where they might be skirting too close to the door (or the first domino) – touch, time, and tech.
Some people are more touchy-feely than others and so there is potential for a lingering hug, or a hand on an arm or leg, to be misunderstood by someone else. For some folk it may be they spend long periods of time with someone else – perhaps a work conference away, or a ‘quick drink’ after work. If people are tired or emotional we may find someone else who ‘really listens’ to us in a way we might feel our spouse doesn’t. A seed is sown. The line between friendship and ‘something more’ is perhaps blurred in our imagination for a few brief moments. For others it may be the way we use technology – text messages, facebook messages, whatsapp etc etc. Do we secretly quite like a flirty text conversation with someone else?
It’s clearly not an easy subject to be prescriptive about – different personalities in different situations mean we need wisdom (according to Proverbs). But if we’re in any doubt we should exercise care and caution. A misunderstanding is a seed sown which may be allowed to germinate and grow. The domino rally is under way. Proverbs 7 would urge the wise to steer a wide course round the door that leads to unfaithfulness.
Or to use my analogy, don’t play dominoes!