Wholesome Adultery?

By Sherman Wilson

In the June 24,1995, issue of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, our local daily newspaper, the entertainment section contained a capsule review of the movies currently showing in our city. I quote from the review of The Bridges Of Madison County: “From Clint Eastwood comes a wholesome romance about adultery.”

Now, I ask, “How can adultery ever be `wholesome’?” For those who believe in the Bible, please read Galatians 5:19-21. There are 17 specific sins listed, one of which is adultery. While the sins are not listed alphabetically, adultery is the very first one mentioned. It is listed right along with murder among the 17 and Paul ends by saying, “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Can murder ever be described as “wholesome”? God appears to feel that adultery is just as bad as murder!

This appears to be unreasonable in the eyes of most humans, including this writer, frankly, as it seems to me that taking someone’s life would have to be the most vile sin of all. After all, the murdered person may not have obeyed the gospel and, if he had lived, there was always the chance that he would have eventually obeyed and had a promise of eternal life. While the sin of murder can be forgiven if the murderer truly repents, it is the only one of the 17 sins listed that is permanent as restitution for the life of the murder victim is, of course, impossible.

However, even though it is hard to accept that adultery is just as bad as murder, we must never lose sight of the fact that God does not view things as we humans view them, according to Isaiah 55:8-9, which says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This is a truth that most people have never learned (or accepted).

To those who have committed adultery or are thinking about it, what about the “Golden Rule” as set forth by Jesus? It says we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us (paraphrased). Would you want your spouse to commit adultery against you?

I have heard people justify adultery by saying, “But am I not entitled to happiness?” How about your spouse? Isn’t he/she entitled to happiness? Will your adultery make him/ her happy? Remember your wedding vows  “As long as we both shall live” not “as long as we both shall love as the T.V. character Rhoda was asked by the preacher to vow in her famous wedding scene several years ago.

The recent T.V. movie of Elizabeth Taylor’s life pointed out that she had been married eight times, including twice to Richard Burton. In one scene she is depicted as saying, “Don’t I have a right to be happy?” To that I ask, what about the husbands she left for another man over the years? Weren’t they entitled to happiness? What about Eddie Fisher’s wife and Richard Burton’s wife? Didn’t Debbie Reynolds Fisher and Sybil Burton have a right to happiness? Didn’t their children have a right to be raised by both of their natural parents?

As someone once said, “My right to swing my arm ends at the point of your nose!”

Without extending the length of this article suffice it to say that if the Bible teaches there will be degrees of punishment (and I am persuaded it does), surely one of the hottest places will be reserved for the person who comes between a husband/wife and his/her spouse and commits adultery.

Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 19, p. 5
October 5, 1995