If there’s anyone that knew women, it was the legendary Solomon of the Bible. The late king of Israel certainly had his pick — 300 personal sex toys, and 700 more “committed” and “mature” selections he called wives, assembled from several surrounding nations, all at his disposal. This might seem to be a dream situation to the average hot-blooded male, but his experience and his age (impotence?) caused him to eventually relent and change his mind about how to approach women. At least, the not-so-well-meaning ones.
If you’re still with me and you think this isn’t about you, cheating doesn’t necessarily mean you’re married and you’re having sex with someone else. A trip through the dark side of Youtube, a flirtatious conversation at work, or a short “meaningless” fling while on a trip still count. It’s all about intention.
Proverbs 5 provides a relevant perspective for both genders. Solomon appears to be writing this to his son, but it’s no less significant for women to heed.
The chapter is divided into three sections: what a sleazy woman looks like, why you should avoid her, and reasons to stick with your wife.
– Incredibly tempting (v. 3) – You’re deceiving yourself if you think you can just ignore the open door. Temptation is everywhere. Not acknowledging it only suppresses the desire for a later time.
– Talks a lot of game (v. 3) – On a carnal level, it’s all rational: What’s the harm? Who’s going to find out?
– Sweet and sour (v. 4) – At first, everything’s good. Just when it seems your brilliance has come to fruition, that you’ve gotten away with it, the bitterness within you swells.
– Cutting to the core (v. 4-5) – Hebrews 4:12 also uses the expression “two-edged sword” to describe the Bible itself, pointing out that it cuts to the marrow and judges your thoughts and attitudes. How a man responds to temptation has the same effect.
– The gateway to destruction (v. 5-6) – Looking for an efficient way to spiral into complacency and blow up your life altogether? It’s close, and it’s easy.
– Don’t even get close. (v. 8) The verse suggests not going near the door of her house. I would even avoid the street. Is it a website? Block it, and have your friend or wife set the password. Is she on the same hotel floor? Make reservations somewhere else.
– Cheating dishonors yourself. (v. 9-10) It’s a pretty effective way to ruin your reputation, if you’re into that sort of thing. And secrets like that aren’t kept very well, so don’t think you’re getting away with something or that no one knows.
– It’s a waste of time, money and life. (v. 9-11) The thrill is temporary. But you can’t get that other stuff back.
– Eventually, it’s going to get you. (v. 11-14) Solomon isn’t just dictating the cheater’s sentiments; he’s probably recounting his own thoughts. You may not feel convicted immediately (if you do, great!), but you will, eventually. When it comes about, the sensation typically resembles a hammer to the temple.
– Don’t share. (v. 15-17) The 90s version of MTV did a great job making it look like it’s okay to explore and fool around, glorifying sex to a gaudy degree. The Real World looks very glamorous, but the actual “real world” isn’t as awesome when your real life wife/girlfriend finds out.
– Enjoy her — she’s all yours. (v. 18-19) Solomon knew it. Wilt eventually knew it. Hugh was devastated by cheating; at the core, he knows it. One is better than many, or in a way, none.
At the outset, this wasn’t intended to be a huge discourse, but perhaps someone needed to hear this today. In another context, you can sort of replace cheating with your favorite destructive sin, and you’ll probably get the same results.
The point is, God has called us to holiness. Are you going to do it?
Further reading: “This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper