This Is Why Adultery Is Harmful - Guidelines Devotional
June 9, 2021

This Is Why Adultery Is Harmful

A man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.  Proverbs 6:32

When I asked the Episcopal Bishop of Liberia what was the greatest problem facing families in his country, he immediately responded:  “Unfaithfulness in marriage, in at least 90% of our homes.”  The bishop gave me a straightforward answer untainted with excuses or justification.  He could well have said, “You know, we really can’t help what’s happening here ‑‑ it’s our culture!”  Or he could have told me, “Our problems here are the result of the media and the role models which have been imported.  The rest of the world is destroying us here!”

He faced the issue head on as he acknowledged that unfaithfulness in marriage was destroying the family unit.  No group of people, however, has a corner on the “scarlet sin” of adultery, as writer Nathaniel Hawthorne described it years ago.  It’s the problem of every race, culture, and group of people in the world.  From the mansions of the great to the humble cottages of the poor, unfaithfulness in marriage destroys relationships and condemns our homes to destruction.

Is it any wonder that the writer of Proverbs, probably King Solomon, who learned a lot about women and relationships the hard way, wrote, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?  Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?  So, is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.  A man who commits adultery lacks judgment …” (Proverbs 6:27‑32). He destroys himself, says Solomon, and he destroys his family at the same time.

How destructive is adultery today? The fallout from affairs is not as much fun as the fling,” said Sandra Leiblum, when director of the Center for Sexual and Relational Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J.  “When affairs come to light, the damage to the relationship is quite substantial. It can take months and even years to lessen the toxic effect of disbelief, anger, hurt and betrayal and even then it’s not totally gone. And once you satisfy the itch, it recurs,” Lieblum said.

According to the Associated Press Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, only 31% of marriages last after an affair has been discovered or admitted.[1] No matter how free or progressive we think we may be, sharing a spouse with another is more than most people can handle.

Interested in knowing how God views adultery? “You shall not commit adultery,” He wrote as the seventh commandment. He hates it.  Infidelity alters both human relationships and the relationship between the adulterer and God Himself.  “But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ [accept my worship] Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14 ESV). God “places the lonely in families,” Psalm 68:6 explains.  He wanted much more for us than to just leave our neighbor’s spouse alone! He made us.  He knows human nature far better than we do ourselves, and He knows adultery destroys people and destroys families, the safe place He designed for people to flourish.

With a changing culture and society, our moral values have changed, but God’s view of adultery has never changed.  If you’re tempted, if your coworker seems so much more understanding or exciting than your spouse, if you’re in a marriage that has gone stale–get help.  Remember, it destroys relationships.

Resource reading: Proverbs 6:20-35.

[1] “Infidelity Statistics.” Statistics Brain. September 7, 2016. Accessed April 18, 2017.


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