And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16:26, NLT
During the time of my first marriage’s implosion, I was going through a rough patch in my life. I was working as a barista in a local coffee shop after failing to secure a pastorate following several discouraging attempts and close calls. It was the time of the Great Recession, indeed.
At this time, I was still trying to enter the U.S. Navy as a chaplain as well. However, I made it all the way to the final interview step only to have my packet rejected over a technicality regarding my undergraduate college transcripts–i.e. a degree that got me into Yale! To make matters even worse, this discouraging news of my rejection from the Navy came at the time of my (now) ex-wife leaving me, and my hours at the coffee shop being slated to decrease for the summer season.
As one prophetic friend told me–not even knowing the extent of my situation–it was as if the way forward for me was a completely obliterated path.
At the same time, my (now) ex-wife’s career was thriving. She was making steps forward both in her day job and her private practice. She was flourishing while I was stymied and depressed. Adding insult to injury, my ex-wife and her family loved to rub her financial success in my face. All this while she continued to cheat.
It was not right!
I had committed to follow my call into the pastorate. This had come at considerable cost to me and my family. I graduated but could not find work as a pastor. Now, my wife was leaving me and humiliating me because of this.
It felt like a Divine setup and betrayal.
I was furious with God!
The idea of chucking my calling was really tempting.
We all have unique stories, but I suspect you can relate to some of these feelings. Sometimes it seems like the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer.
It does not seem right.
I want to encourage you if you find yourself in that place today. First,
It is okay to be angry with God. Tell Him how you feel. God can handle it.
And I want to remind you of Jesus’ words quoted at the top of this post. A cheater never really “wins” in the end. You can have the whole world, and it matters not if you lose your own soul.
That is the price a spouse pays to embrace an adulterous life. Scripture is clear on that matter (see I Cor 6:9). The adulterous will not inherit God’s Kingdom.
Keeping one’s solemn vows matters.
Obeying God matters.
It may not seem as much in this life. The liar and cheat may actually prosper in this world. They may have the shiny new car, thriving career, big bank account, a good reputation, and the “perfect” family.
But I assure you, it is a fool that fails to fear God (see Ps 14:1 and Ps 55:19). Their prosperity will be short-lived compared to an eternity of separation from God. Repentance is the cheater’s best bet to avoid that sad fate. Is it really gain, after all, if they forfeit their souls?
An unrepentant cheater never ultimately wins.