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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Sentimental Failure

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.

(Psalms 128:3 NKJV)

Getting fruit from a vine requires investment, waiting time, being patient. The Bible compares the wife to a "fruitful vine," and adultery is like suddenly cutting off the plant at the roots, taking away sap and nourishment. Nothing makes more noise than a person consecrated adultery, and the scandal that follows brings harm and desolation to many lives. The first to be affected are those in the family. Only those who have experienced it can understand what devastation it brings to discover that the person, whose love was not doubted, has failed in what God's word teaches and what he himself preached. Summer is for many "misandry," mind you. Even if nothing has been consummated, the mere flourishing of an extra relationship should be alarming, as Jesus' words confirm, "But I say to you that whoeverlooks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). I think a sense of revulsion and disappointment is understandable in some cases. However, it should not be forgotten that alongside the few Christian couples who are torn apart by adultery, there are many others who live in steadfastness of faith and submission to Christ, manifesting mutual love and marital solidity. It is these couples who hold high the value of marital fidelity, which still remains a stable value for those who want to conform to the permanent principles of Scripture.

Christian marriage recalls the covenant made by the Lord Jesus with the church, bound to God by a bond written in blood. If we are confused about the covenant that binds us to our spouse, we will also be confused about the covenant that saves us. The best prevention and the most effective cure I can recommend is, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). The heart represents the seat of our feelings and determines much of our actions. Only a renewed heart, which keeps itself in constant communion with Christ, is able to hold behaviors worthy of a child of God and enjoy what it has. We are called to prevent and protect ourselves, to guard what we look at, hear, think and say (Proverbs 4:24-27). Such guardianship will enable us to walk uprightly, not to deviate from the truth and not to set out on dangerous paths.

When sentimental failure is experienced, the resulting damage may be limited to a small circle of people, or may have greater radius depending on those involved. The testimony still comes out compromised and weakened. Amid so much unraveling, the first to be upset are family members. Adultery leaves an incalculable aftermath of bitterness, pain and hurt. The family needs loving support against gossip. Likewise, the perpetrator needs to be cared for. A "servant" who commits adultery and is removed from the position held may fall into resentment toward the church. If this happens, the heart is hardened and repentance is refused. However, if the person concerned wishes to restore his spiritual (and marital) condition, he will have to allow himself to be guided in a rehabilitative process. It is not only a matter of faith, but mental health also needs specific care. It is certainly not an easy task, just as recovering trust and rebuilding the marital relationship is not. It is a journey that requires time, patience, thoughtfulness and a lot of prayer, but in the face of a sincerely repentant heart, God's mercy can shine forth again in all His power.

In a "betrayal" situation, the community should not be kept in the dark. Where a board is present, while understanding the difficulty of management, nothing should be concealed. Clarity and transparency have always been good allies. There is no point in wavering by risking greater losses among the disappointed. It is necessary not to ignore such issues or minimize them; better to always face reality, tell the truth and not hide. Facing the problem head-on with honesty and openness can only help heal wounds. Only in this way will it be possible to stop the subcutaneous spread of poisonous murmuring and help the church rise again in the years to come. It would be appropriate, in the contexts that it is not being done, to start preaching about weaknesses as well. It is neither correct nor Christianly acceptable to create false myths and false ideas about ministers, presenters and leaders. What to do? Simply desire holiness and humbly acknowledge one's frailty. Those who know their weaknesses would do well to keep their steps off dangerous paths. If we surprise our eye to desire another person, let us acknowledge the mistake and make amends for the future. Perhaps this devotional will leave some puzzled, but as always I am confident of the good it will bring to others.


Weekly Bible Reading Plan #34

August 14, Psalms 89-90; Romans 14

August 15, Psalms 91-93; Romans 15:1-13

August 16 ,Psalms 94-96; Romans 15:14-33

August 17, Psalms 97-99; Romans 16

August 18, Psalms 100-102; 1 Corinthians 1

August 19, Psalms 103-104; 1 Corinthians 2

August 20, Psalms 105-106; 1 Corinthians 3

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