Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. – Romans 1:24-25, ESV (emphasis mine)
Chump Lady sent me this article today: The Wrong Thing That Was Right. It is an article that attempts to justify and glorify cheating. I think it is a classic example of a cheater exchanging truth for a lie (hence the verses above). While I think what Julie Christine did and writes is truly deplorable, what I find more deplorable is how it strikes me as symptomatic of a vacuum of sound teaching on adultery from the pulpit and in Christian communities. The void will be filled if pastors and Christian leaders fail to speak the truth on these matters. Satan is more than happy to destroy lives while Christian leaders dither over fear of offending someone as opposed to calling them back from the brink of destruction.
Where to begin?
Well, I won’t dither afraid of being labeled judgmental. God has already judged adultery as sin, and I will happily support my God’s judgments. So, I will share pieces of the article and spend time deconstructing what is going on to expose the lie underneath.
After singing the praises of her former husband, Andrew, the author tells the tale of her illicit kiss with another man, Alex. She writes,
I wasn’t even supposed to be meeting a man, never mind kissing him. I was still married.
I probably should put “married” in quotes because by this point, Andrew and I were both aware of our brother/sister status. But neither of us had the courage to take that final leap. Still, married I was.
So, it wasn’t really cheating because she was only technically “married.” This is such a classic lie cheaters use. They discount their marriage vows as if they are dependent upon feelings (that rise and fall) as opposed to choices and commitments made willfully. As I write elsewhere on my blog, this is part of the adultery script that has only one origin–i.e. demonic (click here). I remember first seeing this move exposed in an old Christian classic (first published in 1983): Love Must Be Tough: New Hope for Families in Crisis by Dr. James Dobson.
Julie Christine then goes on to try and make us believe the kiss more or less “just happened” (my words):
Meeting Alex was a consequence of a weeklong texting conversation on Tinder. Despite the app’s reputation, there was no expectation or discussion about hooking up. No sex talk.
That is a weeklong period of sinful choices. These were choices to build an intimate relationship with another man. And I suspect her husband knew nothing about this relationship until Julie exposed the kiss to him. Even if Andrew did know about it, the kiss suggests intimacy was being developed even if it was not “sex talk.” The kiss did not “just happen” and the Tinder conversation was clearly not just some innocent exchange–i.e. it was likely emotional cheating and certainly laid the groundwork for the physical infidelity of that kiss.
Next, she acknowledges the kiss as wrong:
Still, it was wrong. Wrong in every sense of the word as I knew it. The kiss goodnight made the “wrong” even more so. I was a cheater. Infidelity was waiting at my doorstep.
The last sentence reveals how deeply deceived the author is. Infidelity was not waiting at her doorstep. She had already invited it in and supped with it at her kitchen table. She just said the kiss was wrong and even called herself “a cheater.” Now, she may not have already had sex with Alex at this point. But she recognizes in her own words that it need not be sexual intercourse for infidelity to have taken place.
It was time to stop pretending. In some way, doing one wrong thing by kissing Alex opened my eyes to all the “wrong” I’d been doing for years, by pretending I was okay and happy, lying to myself and others.
My ex-wife could have written this last piece of twisted logic. Clearly, Julie bought the lie that marriage is about her personal happiness. It is not. God did not say a man and woman get married and stay married as long as the wife is personally happy and the husband is personally happy (see Genesis 2:24). Being unhappy in your marriage is not given as an excuse for committing adultery nor obtaining a divorce. The fact such is not addressed by her suggests she experienced a failure in sound Christian teaching on marriage (or–at least–in internalizing it).
And do you notice how she treats infidelity and subsequently choosing divorce as acts of courage as opposed to treachery and betrayal? Honoring her marriage vows and commitments suddenly becomes the greater wrong. Crazy. She is using language here to make sin look like it is noble. It is not. She betrayed her husband and God by being unfaithful. Choosing divorce following one’s own infidelity is not an act of courage but an act of sin (e.g. Mt 19:9). The only real pretending going on here is pretending what she was doing was righteous or noble in any sense of the word. It is not. It is wicked.
Skipping over her worrying how her children will view her actions and becoming pregnant less than six months after her illicit kiss, she then twists Scripture for her closing. She cites Romans 8:28 after writing this:
God – the great economist – doesn’t waste any opportunity. Though it’s not my story to tell, I’m pretty sure our relationship saved Alex too. The ultimate irony?
I’m far closer to God today than I was for years in a life that looked quite godly.
For those who are unfamiliar with Romans 8:28 (ESV), it says,
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
This twisting of Scripture turns my stomach. One never draws closer to God by sinning. Never. You only draw closer to God through repenting of that sin. Divorcing one’s husband and then getting pregnant with the OM are not acts of repentance. They are acts of sinful defiance far from following God’s purposes. While she may claim to be closer to “God,” I would suggest the author is closer to a god she made in her own image that says infidelity is okay and even noble. She certainly is no closer to my God who is crystal clear on His stance against infidelity and the choice by an unfaithful spouse to divorce a faithful spouse throughout the Bible (e.g. Deut 5:18, Jer 3:8, Mt 5:27-32, Heb 13:4, etc.).
While God can redeem sin, He is not the author of wickedness and calls His followers to be holy (see James 1:13-17 and I Peter 1:16). This article by Julie Christine is a sad example of exchanging such truth about God for a lie. I dearly hope by exposing it to light; others may see, gain understanding, and be warned from making similar errors themselves. Plus, as you can see–faithful spouses–you are not alone in encountering such sad and destructive “justifications” for sin.