Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

An Emotional Affair to Remember….or Forget

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“We didn’t do anything so it’s no big deal.”

“It was never physical.”

“It’s not cheating if it’s just a crush.”

“There’s nothing wrong with looking if there’s no touching.”

.…..lies…lies…more lies.

Christians and non-Christians alike will almost always universally agree that committing a physical act of adultery is wrong. Cheating on one’s spouse is not acceptable in most social circles, and yet there seems to be this false line of thinking that deems it okay to have an emotional “fling” with someone other than one’s spouse. As Christians we know this isn’t right. Jesus set the boundaries in place when He said this:

“But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

No, it’s not okay to have a crush. It’s not okay to fantasize about someone other than your husband (or wife). It’s not okay to look. Jesus said those who follow Him will not look with lustful eyes. It may be in the heart but the consequences usually leave the heart and become much more “real”. We see it in the world. We sense it in the church. Oftentimes the internal, invisible evidences of an emotional affair allow it to go unnoticed for a long time, but not forever. A person can keep an emotional affair well-hidden from their brothers and sisters in the Lord, and even from their spouse for a long while. Then, in what seems like a sudden tragedy, the dam bursts open and sin floods into families, homes and the church.

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:14-15

Sin begins in the heart folks. It begins in the deep, recesses of the heart where desire and longing simmer until they start to boil over. It becomes a stronghold for the enemy. It is adultery of the heart and it is sin. Make no mistake about it.

While statistics show men are usually more likely to commit physical adultery, women tend to be more prone to affairs of the heart. Call it what you will: a crush, attraction, a connection, a very close friendship taken too far, a fantasy….women who may feel less than fulfilled or satisfied at home may find their hearts straying, even if they are physically faithful to their husbands. It can start with a few flirting smiles, confiding in someone who seems more attentive and interested than the husband, or even just a strong attraction that leads you to fantasizing about being intimately acquainted with that person. It can start out so innocently and end up so tragically.

Guilty as Charged

It may sound like I’m being harsh. Well, there’s a reason. You see, I had an emotional affair once. Yes, I committed adultery of the heart, and it led me through a time of greater pain than I can even express. I can tell you that this sinful desire of the heart and strong emotions for a man that was not my husband brought me to a place of devastation as a Christian, a wife, a mother and in my calling in ministry. No, it never was physical. Yes, it was sin. Wicked, depraved, selfish, disgusting sin. As I look back, I see that the sin started in my heart but it seemed to build and build until I began to manifest it in other sinful actions. I began to become the “old” me…the person who had been freed from the chains of sin when I accepted Christ. While I loved my husband and my family, I found myself pushing them away. I saw myself changing into someone I barely knew. My desires overtook me and I fell back into the miry pit I had escaped by the grace of God so long ago.

No, it never was physical. It was adultery of the heart and it broke me and my husband. Praise be to God that He pulled me out again. He brought me to forgiveness. He empowered my husband to forgive me fully. I repented and was granted grace and mercy unspeakable! I am SO grateful! So thankful for this amazing grace. I praise my God with all that is in me that my family was not destroyed. God restored us to fullness and we are stronger now in Him than ever before. He has done amazing work here and has overcome in our hearts, our lives and our marriage. Hallelujah!

I want to make it clear, since this is a sensitive and personal issue, that my husband is a wonderful man whom I love dearly. I want to honor him, because he stuck by my side and forgave me for my offense against him. It killed me to see how much I had hurt him. I never wanted to hurt him, but sin hurts people. It hurts us and those around us. My husband is an amazing man and I just want to say here that I will never, ever stop thanking God for him and how he has forgiven and loved me!

A Warning

When I think of all I could have lost, it leaves me breathless. My husband could have chosen not to forgive me. My daughter could have experienced the pain of divorce that so many children go through. We could have destroyed our testimony forever and been unfit to minister. Oh, I shudder to think what might have happened because my heart allowed sin to enter in. God has been so good to us and so now I warn my sisters in the Lord not to allow emotional adultery into your heart. Flee from it with every fiber of strength! It is not innocent! It is not okay! It will destroy you like sin does!

I want to warn and admonish you, my sisters, to use caution and boundaries in your relationships outside of marriage. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Be cautious about building close friendships with men who are not your husband. You may think there’s nothing wrong with men and women being “best friends”, but the truth is that best friends share confidences and intimate details about their lives, and this can build feelings that you didn’t anticipate. Don’t confide in other men. Confide in your husband, your God and in Christian women you respect.
  2. Take sinful thoughts captive. When a thought enters your mind and heart that causes you to feel lustful or feelings of a romantic sort, immediately go to God for help. Cry out and ask God to help you capture and remove those thoughts and feelings. Read scripture. Sing worship. Talk to the Father. He will help you. If you need to, call a friend. Don’t allow those thoughts to simmer.
  3. Sometimes we need to break off unhealthy relationships. If you have a friend in your life that you find yourself attracted to, physically, emotionally or spiritually, it is sometimes necessary to stop seeing that person. You don’t have to be cruel about it. You don’t even have to tell them why. Your marriage and your walk with the Lord are more important. Be wise and be committed.
  4. Set up good boundaries. Make your own rules about what you should or shouldn’t do. For example, make a rule about not being alone in a private place with a man. Don’t confide your private feelings or emotions with a man other than your husband. Pray about it and make your own set of boundaries, and discuss them with your husband. It’d be wise for him to do the same.
  5. Don’t justify your sin. If you are having an emotional affair, a crush, or whatever you want to call it, don’t justify it. It’s sin. The Bible says it’s sin. Stop putting the words “innocent” and “crush” together. There’s no such thing for a married woman. You are cheating on your husband and it is sin in the eyes of the Lord. You need to repent and turn.
  6. Seek discipleship if this is an ongoing problem for you. If you are finding your heart straying often and you feel out of control, seek the counsel of a mature woman in the Lord who can disciple you in marriage and in what the Word says about matters of the heart. As you grow in the Lord, you will be more able to withstand and flee from these temptations.
  7. Work on your marriage. Let’s face it, if you’re having an emotional affair it’s likely that your marriage isn’t going well. Marriage is hard. It takes work and commitment. I’m married to the most wonderful, God-fearing man and yet we had problems. Thanks to God we were able to work through our issues and have grown tremendously in love and respect for one another. God has worked mightily in our marriage and we are happy. If you are struggling with an emotional longing for something else, what you really need to do is focus your heart on strengthening your marriage. Get help through your church if need be.
  8. If you are in a very bad marriage, where you are being mistreated and unloved, I understand complete why your heart would wander. My husband treats me wonderfully, but my parents had an awful marriage that ended in divorce. I’ve seen how hard marriage to an unloving and even abusive man can be. I want to encourage you that just because your husband is not treating you like he ought to or loving you the way you deserve doesn’t give you the right to have an emotional affair with someone else. I’m not saying this flippantly. I know it’s hard, but as long as you are married, having thoughts of intimacy or romantic love for another man is adultery of the heart, and God sees it as sin. It’s not ok. Seek help dear sister and be encouraged that God can work miracles.

I had an emotional affair. It was painful and horrific. It was sin that I have since repented of and been forgiven for. My incredible husband has shown me grace and love that is beyond what I could have hoped for and I am committed to never again betraying him or my Lord Jesus in this manner. I learned my lesson the hard way. I saw first hand the destruction that sins of the heart can bring. So now I have boundaries. Now I take my thoughts captive. Now I am willing not to have close relationships with people who may tempt me to stumble. What about you? How committed are you to your marriage? Your God? Your children?

Emotional adultery is sin. Repent. Flee.

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The Pain of a Parent’s Adultery

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“They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!” 2 Peter 2:14

The Day My Dad Left

I’ll never forget that day. It was a day that changed our lives in many ways. It was a fork in the road that led us all into the path of pain, poverty, fear, hopelessness and hatred. It was the day that what we had known, though not very pleasant either, would be ripped apart. When I say that he left, I actually mean the day he moved out. He had really left a long time before, but on that day – the day that it was discovered he had been committing adultery with my mom’s secretary – it was finally over. That’s the day my dad left. 

My parents never had a great marriage. My mother was a Christian, but my father wasn’t. The fighting, cursing, occasional violence….it was not uncommon. It was what we knew growing up. There were separations and then reconciliations. Rumors and suspicions of multiple affairs on my father’s side were always present, but there was never proof. Not until that day.

Now my intention in sharing this personal story is not just to tell a sad story, nor to seek to harm the reputation of anyone involved, but to shed some light on the pain and harm a parent’s adultery inflicts on his/her child. You see, too many people who commit adultery think they are only cheating on their spouse. I’m sorry, but that’s just not the case. When you cheat on your spouse, you are cheating on your children as well, and you are most certainly sinning against the Almighty God.

 Cheating on Your Kids Too

Adultery is one of the most selfish of all the sins, though I dare say sin in and of itself is always based on selfishness in some way. When a husband or wife commits adultery, he or she seeks self-gratification at the expense of the spouse and children. Knowing that this action will deeply wound and scar the hearts and minds of their children, they go forward. They please themselves. Their mouths may say that they love their children, but their actions show that they love themselves far more and don’t care about the well-being of their kids. They cheat on their family. How sad! It is a most selfish and abhorrent act. God hates adultery.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19

When my dad’s adultery was found out, he left and eventually married the woman, raising her children as his own. We realized later that, looking back, he had been fathering them for a while anyways. He coached her kids little league team. He never did those things for us. He was always a better stepfather than a father. At his funeral many years later, the person reading the story of his life, skipped from when he graduated from high school to when he married the woman. The twenty plus years that we were a family – my parent’s marriage, our births, our childhood – were deleted from his timeline. We were deleted. While he didn’t write it, he chose it. He chose to cheat on his wife and abandon his children.

There’s Healing in Jesus!

While this seems like a very sad story, I want to leave you with hope. It was 8 years from the time he left before I was willing to speak to my dad again. Even then, I had such bitterness and hatred in my heart for him and his wife. Every moment with them was torture. The Lord, however, did a magnificent work in my heart. Throughout the years I was able to forgive my father for the hurt he had caused us. Only a few years ago, he died of lung cancer. I can say with thanksgiving in my heart that I was able to hold his hand, tell him I loved him and say goodbye before he departed from this life. I have no regrets for anything I did, but only regret that I never had the father I should have had. 

Today I am so grateful to see my husband playing with our daughter. He loves her so much. He would die for her and he would never hurt us the way my father did. I praise God every day that my daughter has a mother and father who will not break our marriage vows. We will not cheat on each other or her. We will not file for a divorce no matter what the circumstances. We stand solidly on the Rock knowing that Jesus Christ is the center of our home. 

If you have experienced the pain of a parent’s adultery, you know very well the bitterness and scars it causes. My prayer for you is that you find total freedom from it all and the ability to forgive through the strength of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is so powerful. It’s freedom! Pray for those who have harmed you. Make yourself do it, even if you don’t want to. Ask for God’s help. He wants to bring you healing and wholeness.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Repent of Adultery

If you have committed adultery, or are having an affair even now, repent! Repent for this sin and ask God to forgive you. Change your life. If you can win back the hearts of your spouse and children, make that the most important thing in your life. Love them more than yourself. That’s what God wants from you. God hates adultery.

Flee from Temptation

If you are considering committing adultery, I beg you to stop now before it’s too late. You are about to do something that will utterly destroy the lives of many, and that will cause a schism between you and God. Think of your spouse. Think of your children. Think of the tears they will cry and the heartache they will endure. Will you really put them through all of it for a moment of pleasure?

 Flee from temptation and sin! If it lingers at you workplace (as it did for my dad) quit your job and never go back. Find a new job. Your family is more important. If your spouse isn’t giving you the love and support you need, don’t go trying to find it elsewhere. Read the Word of God and keep the vows you made to God. That’s right! Those wedding vows you made were before God. Stop now before it’s too late and you have crushed the hearts of the people you are supposed to be loving and protecting. Please stop.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Find Healing through Jesus

The adultery of a parent is painful indeed, but there is hope for the hurting in Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, you need Him. He wants to heal you, forgive you, know you personally and change your life. He wants to give you eternal life through His death and resurrection. Confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you and to come into your heart. He will answer your prayer with joy. If you are a Christian who is hurting, allow God into those wounded places in your heart. Ask Him to help you forgive. It won’t be easy, but it will be exceedingly worth it in the end. I have found peace through Jesus.

 

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