Making the right choices?
At the beginning of this year, I was shocked and angry at seeing posters at bus stops in our neighbourhood advertising the ‘service’ called ‘Second Love.’ The promise? ‘ A date within 24 hours- together with tips on how to mislead your partner.’ You - an exciting, exciting, fun date; your partner and family - misery.
If both partners want to heal their relationship, if they want to give the other (however difficult) a ‘second chance’ and they choose a path of recovery, they can return to where that first love originated. They can look together at where the relationship left its common path and where they lost each other, even through pain and betrayal, through loneliness or emptiness. Space can be created for that second love - together. Enter a process of forgiveness. Rebuild trust. Get to know each other in a new, deeper, way.
Second love... with your own partner!
A strong relationship does not come automatically, and we all know it is subject to temptations and tough circumstances. It takes investment in time and money to grow a strong relationship. Investing in time, means to be there for one another, to actively listen to one another, share experiences and learning. Investing money, could mean going to a (marriage-) conference, getting professional counsel and spending on the other’s welfare and growth.
The English word adultery means to ‘make something weaker or of worse quality by adding something of inferior quality,’ and stems from the Latin adultere, which means ‘to corrupt.’
In sexuality, this leads to seriously weakening the relationship to breaking point. In our relationship with God, adultery means to choose the temptations from other gods or idols above the principles of the Bible.
For me, if there is one word which stands out as a banner flying over relationships, that would be loyalty. The word loyalty brings to mind a powerful sense of belonging and solidarity, coupled with unswerving devotion and duty. In the Bible, the concept of loyalty is purely relational. This means our whole being is thoroughly committed to someone. Such loyalty is expressed to us in both the divine and human realms as given to us in the greatcommandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
God established the very essence of loyalty through His covenant relationship with His people: “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
In our relationships with one another, we are called to steadfast loyalty, not just in our marriage relationship, but also at work with our employers, employees, colleagues, customers and suppliers.
Jesus sharpens the point
In His sermon on the hillside, Jesus took this command much further and extended the boundaries. He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Jesus’ radical words encourage us to make exceptional sacrifices for the relationship, and to get rid of whatever would cause us to sin.
As a young man, combatting temptations, an older mentor said to me, “You can’t stop birds flying over your head, but you can stop them making a nest in your hair.” Seeing is not looking, and
looking is not watching, which could lead to action, as King David discovered.
I recently read a confession of guilt from the mayor of the town next to mine. During a difficult period in his marriage he visited a brothel.
This came out and was exaggerated in the press. As a Christian he has talked and worked this through with his wife and also publicly asked forgiveness. Loyalty means keeping your covenant with God, with your wife, and with the people around you.
An important verse in my life has been Proverbs 5:18: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”
I have claimed this promise from God many times, and I thank God for more than forty-eight years of marriage to my wife; which speaks to her loyalty and strength of character more than mine!
Making the right choices?
This Word #7 shows that we are to show loyalty, love and faithfulness in all our relationships, but especially in our marriage relationship. Investing time and money in building a marriage will benefit yourself, your partner, the family and all around you.