Reading David’s story and watching my friends fall has led me to one conclusion: Moral collapse is rarely a blowout; it’s more like a slow leak — the result of a thousand small indulgences. Very few people plan an adulterous affair; they transition into it.
It begins with attraction. It’s not lust as much as infatuation that brings us down. We’re drawn to someone sensitive and understanding, someone who listens and seems to care. We’re seduced by that attraction and led on by subtle degrees.
Attraction becomes fantasy: We imagine ourselves with that person and the feeling is good. Fictionalized affairs always seem so right. That’s their fundamental deception.
The fantasies soften us, and our convictions erode. We’re then in a frame of mind to listen to our longings, and having listened we have no will to resist. We cannot escape the realization of our predominant thoughts.
Then there are the meetings and the sharing of inner conflict, marital disappointment, and other deep hurts. And with that sharing, the relationship begins to shift. We’re suddenly two lonely people in need of one another’s love.
Then comes the inevitable yielding, and with that yielding the need to justify the affair. We can’t live with the dissonance. We have to rationalize our behavior by blaming someone or something else — the pressures of our business or the limitations of our spouses. Others’ wrongdoing becomes our reason. Everything must be made to look good.
But our hearts know. There are moments when our wills soften and we long to set things right. If we do not then listen to our hearts, there comes a metallic hardening, and then corruption. Our wrongdoing mutates, altering its form and quality, evolving into dark narcissism and horrifying cruelty. We don’t care who gets hurt as long as we get what we want.
And finally there is inevitable disclosure. First we deny: “There’s no one else!” Then we dissemble: “It’s only platonic.” And finally our deception is shouted from the housetops. There’s no place to hide from the light.
When our seams have been opened and our evil deeds have been exposed. God reminds us of His cross, His forgiveness, and His incomparable grace. Then He begins to make us new. But there’s only one way to know that forgiveness: acknowledgment of the awfulness of one’s sin and that old-fashioned word, repentance. We must hate what we’ve done, and turn from it in disgust.
That’s what Paul calls “godly sorrow (that) brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Cor. 7:10). Ungodly sorrow is the sorrow of being found out, or of suffering the consequences of being found out. The result is intensified guilt, anxiety, and hopelessness. Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is sorrow over sin itself and the harm that it’s done to others. Godly sorrow asserts itself to set things right.
Here’s the way Paul put it: “See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness (to obey), what eagerness to clear yourselves (of wrongdoing), what indignation (against evil), what alarm (that we might fall into sin again), what longing (for purity), what concern (for all those damaged by our sin), what readiness to see justice (righteousness) done” (2 Cor. 7:11).
As David himself learned, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, 0 God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:17). God discerns the possibilities even in our defilement, forgives our sins, counteracts our mistakes, and sets out to make us better than we’ve ever been before.
Therefore, rather than mourn our humiliation, we must move on. Sin may have consequences with which we must live for the rest of our natural lives, but sin repented of can only work for ultimate good. God takes the worst that we can do and makes it part of the good He has promised. He’s the God of fools and failures and the God of another chance.
Hindi ako ang may-akda.
Opkurs amo, obyus naman.
We jus travol bak intaym.