“Anyway, so yeah, I understood that it would be difficult for him to stay in a relationship without sex. I mean, we were both young good-looking adults in love. Let’s show and share the love we profess, right? After all, that’s what the world keeps telling us. And mind you, he was a Christian too! But a relationship without sex? He told me he’d find it hard. To be honest, I was surprised it lasted that long. He eventually did cheat, and – it goes without saying- the relationship ended there and then. In all fairness to him, he actually came to me, sat me down, and confessed he had cheated. I mean, who does that?
“What? He actually confessed?”
“Yea, just like that. Seriously, who does that? I did not suspect anything, I would not have ever known. But he came and told me.”
And so I sat there, listening to my wonderful girlfriends talk about their last relationships. The virtues of women, the foes of men. And as I sat there listening, I felt not-so-virtuous at all.
“Let me not say anything sha.. ’cause I’ve been the bad guy too.”
I did not expect a comment, a question, a surprised stare. We simply moved on.
My mind went back a decade..
I probably do not remember it as clearly as I do yesterday, but I remember it anyway. The relationship, the distance. The new friend, the flirtation. The temptation, the fail.
The call, the confession..
I have to tell you something and you’re not going to like it.
I met someone, well… yeah, I told you about him already.
Hmmm.. we did it. How much? Well, everything.. Yes, all the way.
No, seriously. I slept with him.
Silence. Followed by a struggle to breathe. I could feel his shock and fury over the telephone. He stretched for his inhaler. Oh no, I’d forgotten his asthma. A beep breath. A whimper, a cry.
The beep tone.
Was he crying? Seriously? For or because of me?
I pretty much knew that he cared about me, and that he had desperately wanted this relationship to work. That he had, against his physical desires, respected my wish to not engage in any physical intimacy- just to see me throw that decision to the winds, in sight of another. Someone almost random. Did I just not want him, or was the mistake genuine? He did not know. And neither did I (then). Truth was, I did care about him too. I guess I just did not care as much, or enough? I don’t know.. Or perhaps I momentarily cared more about my immediate desires than I did about the effects all this would eventually have on my relationship.
Towards God I eventually felt guilt: sad for failing Him, my inability to resist, withstand temptation, flee. I had sinned.
Towards my boyfriend I merely felt pity: I felt sorry he was hurting and that I had caused him pain. However, I did not feel bad for cheating per se. There was no shame.
And this led me to wonder and mentally wander: why would he feel so much pain over something I had done. Was it his male ego talking/crying or could it be something else, something more?
I had caused him pain of an almost physical nature.
He was deeply broken, bruised, hurt.
He felt my betrayal so deeply, because he had loved me so freely and sincerely.
Of recent, again, it dawned on me. I guess the earlier-mentioned incident as well as recent occurrences brought it back to memory: the relation between love and hurt. Pleasure and pain.
We understand that we are formed in God’s image and His likeness; but we fail to realize just what this really means.. how much it means.
It (almost) means everything.
I was abruptly taken back to Exodus 20:5
You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.
We understand that as His creation, His priced possession, He wants us all to and for Himself. As His Bride, His Beloved, He will not, in fact cannot share us with another. He cannot have us give our hearts or love, attention or affection; indeed our worship to another. Betrayal of the highest order!
Or in other words, going-a-whoring; playing the harlot, as Israel did in the book of Hosea; Hosea and Gomer.
And so I understood the parallel the Lord had drawn in my mind.
Finally comprehending the pain, the hurt He experiences when we betray Him.
Just as man, God gets hurt.
His heart breaks at a lack of trust, the ability to hang on, remain loyalty to the one we love.
The mocking laugh of the enemy.
I guess, what really dawned on me was that just as the relationship eventually returned to a platonic friendship, some betrayals are simply not worth it. They have the power to alter the course of your future, your destiny.
Sometimes the struggle to rebuild what you once had takes much more pain, strife, effort and time, than simply resisting and walking away would have.
Sometimes, the hurting party is unwilling to take the 3rd step and forgive. Sometimes there is forgiveness, but the walk to restore trust too long and treacherous, both parties decide it might be easier to simply move on and start afresh..with someone else.
But because God, who is eternally bound by His own word, cannot walk away, He stays. He stays watching, and waiting, and hurting. How unfair.. all because He cannot go back on His word. How fortunate for us indeed. Much more than you or your partner ever felt or ever will feel, God has extremely strong and unchanging emotions for the object of His affection.
You see, this really has brought “sinning” into perspective for me.
Sometimes you want to do wrong but choose not to because there’s a voice telling you that this sin might well have the potential to sweep you away. Cause you to continuously swim in an ocean controlled by nothing more than misguided carnal emotions.
At other times you might want to fall, but listen to that still small voice telling you to hold on just a little while longer. Encouraging you to stand still and trust.. just a little more, a little farther, a little longer.
Then, there are times when you really would have fallen if only He had permitted you, and not placed a stumbling-block in your path: caused your phone-battery to run flat; your BIS to expire, a friend to show up unannounced or your Pastor to suddenly call.
From today, however, I want you to simply not do it because you have come to realize and understand the extend, depth and height of His love. How, as His Beloved, He has washed and cleansed and purified you for Himself, not another. I want you to remember that remaining true and faithful to Him really does mean forfeiting all others – often even your very own desires.
From today, I want you to truly picture yourself in a love relationship with Him. Just as in human relationships, in marriages, both husbands and wives choose to give up certain rights for the sake and benefit of the relationship, it is no different to our walk with God.
These parallels have been beautifully woven into Scripture to help us mortals understand who we are to Him… and who/ how we ought to be in Him.
” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
We do not choose to live holy (separate, set aside) lives for Him because we fear punishment or unfavourable consequences, but because we love Him (back) dearly. Not because we are naturally innocent, but because we are guilty as charged.. yet free.