“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ Matthew 5:27
This is gonna hurt. In this verse, Jesus is calling to our recollection the Seventh Commandment, “you shall not commit adultery.” In our society, this is an easy commandment to break. Just turn on the TV Or go to the beach. Or maybe the mall. This’ll hurt, but I’ll bet you’ve broken this commandment because, as we’ll see in a few verses, Jesus says that, if we even look at someone in lust, we’re guilty of adultery. Be honest about it and, no, you don’t have to tell anyone, though even Jimmy Carter admitted to, of all parties, Playboy Magazine that he had ‘lust in his heart.’
If you’ve been around this blog for long, you know my story. I’m guilty. I did it: I’m guilty of adultery, and not just once. I’ll spare you the gory details; let’s do coffee or a beer some day if you want to know the rest. For today’s discussion, it’s enough to simply say I’m guilty. I heard Jesus say “don’t do that” and I did it anyway.
It’s almost funny (but not really): I don’t want the whole world knowing my business, yet here I go, sharing this online. And the internet is forever. So are some peoples’ memories. Still, I don’t want people to go to my funeral some day and say, “I’ll always remember him because he was an adulterer.” If that’s what they say, it’s out of my control, and it doesn’t matter anyway. Yet I don’t want this to be the only thing people remember about me.
But that isn’t how most people are wired. We’re wired to remember the nasty things. A good person can do a thousand good things, but if he messes up, many folks will only remember the mess. A lifetime of trust is easily broken by just one breach, especially if that breach involves this particular sin. Maybe that’s why Jesus said it the way He did: “you have heard that it was said.” People talk, and people remember those bad things. He wants us to remember something else, something about how we know Him. That’s just ahead.
When you’re in a relationship where you broke the trust through adultery, your old relationship ends. If you involve the Lord, and you do the hard work of communicating and change, you can move into something new, maybe something better. It’s never the same, though. All sin comes from within, but this particular one starts in a selfish heart. Jesus knows that, and so, as part of this big sermon where He discussed many topics, He reminded us that this thing we shouldn’t do is often one heard about by many others. That hurts.
For more reading: Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20, John 8:2-11, Romans 13:9, Matthew 5:28
Jesus, I’m sorry I committed adultery. I’m guilty. Forgive me and make me clean as only You can.