November 14, 2012

“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? … He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. Wounds and dishonor will he get, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.” Proverbs 6:27-28, 32-3    

I have not been able to escape the coverage of the David Petraeus affair. Beyond all of the national security issues, I find this story very sad. It is so sad because we all know what the stories are not talking about.  There are two marriages that have been shattered by this adultery and two exceptional careers dishonored. The warnings of Proverbs are, once again, proven right. I know some may wonder how two, obviously intelligent, people could makes such a poor series of decisions.  I don’t wonder that. I read about this affair and think, “but by the grace of God, that could be me”. It is not because I am an unusual pervert or out of false humility. I remind myself of that because it is a simple truth for me and everyone else that I know. The warnings against adultery in Proverbs are not conditioned.  It never says, “since you have a problem with lust, you should stay away from the adulteress”. The warnings are universal.  If you have looked upon the Petraeus affair and thought, “that can never happen to me”, then you are a fool. That very thought opens you up to a fall. Everyone is warned to stay away from the adulteress because everyone is vulnerable to this type of sin. The problem is that we think that we will only find the adulteress in the “red-light” district. How simplistic is that? The majority of adultery does not spin forth from a prostitute. Most adultery is created from benign friendships. The Petraeus affair came from the work environment. I imagine that at some point they became friends; at some point, they became close friends and then at some point they became lovers. They started to play with fire and expected not to get burned. There had to have been a line where their friendship crossed into adultery and I suspect that it was long before it turned sexual. The problem is that I don’t trust myself in being able to distinguish that line. Do you know for certain where that line is for both of you? Even seeking that line is like playing with fire. I don’t understand why one would even do that. I am reminded of my Father’s advice when I entered the workforce. He told me, “don’t be friends with women at work.” It seemed a little harsh at the time but he was not talking about being friendly. He was talking about being close friends. It is not worth it. It is like playing with fire. I have expanded his advice into simply not being friends with women. Once again, I know that may sound harsh and I am not talking about being friendly. I am saying that I do not have a close friend who is a woman, with the exception of my wife. It is not that I have anything against women.  I love women. They are a master piece of God’s creation that I probably appreciate too much. I have a girlfriend and I only need one. I realize that my stance may result in me being deprived of the uniqueness of a person that just happens to be a woman. I am willing to accept that. I know that some will criticize me as over-sexualizing innocent interpersonal relationships with the opposite sex. I don’t care. My wife, the only girlfriend I have or want, is my priority. I don’t trust my ability to distinguish the line between friendship and adultery. I don’t trust someone else to be able to distinguish that line with me. I don’t want to play that game. Therefore, I have decided not to play.  I will not play with fire.  How about you? Where is your line and what are you willing to risk?

PRAYER: Lord, Please be with all those who are associated with this Petraus affair. I do not know where any of these people are with you, but I know that they need you.  Lord, I pray that you will touch their lives and change them and draw them to yourself.  Lord, keep me and my wife from this same type of sin. Protect our marriage. Protect our hearts so that we will be wholly devoted to you so that our marriage can be all that you have created it to be.  Amen


  1. […] a doctor.  I was once again reminded of the advice of my father.  I wrote about his advice in The Petraeus in all of Us so I won’t repeat myself.  However, I will repeat my heartfelt warning to myself and my brothers […]

  2. […] of cleavage, a click on the seductive, or the relishing of the sexual will not go well for me.  (THE PETRAEUS IN ALL OF US)  I have to get out of those waters.  I know many people for whom those waters are not hot.  […]

  3. Hey JD, you have clearly thought this area of your life out clearly… and you do need to know yourself – so your self-reflective comments just demonstrate your own personal growth, and on that level don’t need excusing. I appreciate your honesty.

  4. So true. There but by the grace of God go I. Great post.

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