I’ve been talking at church about family matters the past couple of weeks. The topics included such things as communication and honoring relationships. This week I’m going to talk about faithful relationships or fidelity in marriage. It’s a tough topic to discuss because it touches so many lives. For years I’ve helped, coached, and encouraged ministers that faced moral failure. It happens to those in ministry as well as the person in the pew. There’s actually not much of a statistical difference between those who attend church and those who don’t that are affected by infidelity. The real life stories don’t really surprise me any more. I had a college roommate whose father left his mother for another women he met while counseling. I remember the pain in the voice of my former college roommate. Then there was the chairman of the deacons who ran off with the church hostess at my seminary church. They’d actually go out visiting together on church visitation. Really?!? They ended up driving out of town together leaving their not yet former spouses to fend for themselves and to live out the pain and shame. Then there was a friend of mine nearly twenty years ago who ended up contracting HIV after a long history of extramarital encounters. It changed his life and the future of his wife and children. These are just a few of the multitude of stories I’ve known. I’ve yet to hear a story that didn’t devastate lives, futures, dreams, and hopes. While the pain inflicted by selfish and thoughtless actions may dull over time, it never completely disappears. Families are never the same after the light exposes the darkness.
As a pastor, I hear many a story. But for every story I hear about, there are many more that never come to my attention. In this sensual age, men and woman both must be ever vigilant to guard what really should matter most – marriage and family. With the proliferation of online pornography, social medias, dating sites, extramarital sites, and markets like Craigslist, the opportunities are too numerous. Even an innocently initiated friendship at work, the church, or in the neighborhood can travel down a dangerous road without intentional and establish boundaries to guard your marriage relationship. There’s one thing I’ve never heard spoken from someone caught in adultery. I’ve never heard the offender say in reference to the adulterous act, “It was worth it!”
Faithfulness in marriage is worth something. The marriage relationship is worth protecting, honoring, and promoting. So, what are the benefits of fidelity in marriage? Here are just a few: freedom, innocence, health, openness, confidence, trust, love, respect, honor, value, laughter, knowledge, influence, worth, support, future, friendship, surrounded, and fulfilled. If you’re in the neighborhood this Sunday, I’m going to talk about the benefits of faithfulness in the marriage and ways you can guard your family. This isn’t a message to skip, as it’s definitely one to hear and apply.