Beliefnet
Dr. Norris J. Chumley Satisfied Life

ABC television is running a new series on the Ten Commandments, on “ABC News Nightline” click here to check it out online here.  You probably know or remember, the 10 Commandments are the guides to living given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai in the form of two stone tablets. Found in Exodus 19:23, and Deuteronomy 5:2, they are the first self-help guides ever written!  I’ve always loved them, finding them truly important and meaningful.  Follow these, and life goes well.  Go against them, and you are in trouble. They make total sense, and they work.  To me, they are an example of God’s love and care for us.  I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t follow them.

Interesting that the TV series would start with the commandment against adultery.  Sex sells, and it’s on everyone’s minds!  Stemming from a Biblical, or Judeo-Christian context, having sexual relations outside marriage is a moral and religious admonishment for most, and is something that is discouraged by all religions, illegal and highly punishable by some cultures and governments.  “Extramarital affairs” is the equivalent without the religious connotation, outside moral judgment, which carries a civic admonishment and some kind of punishment in most places.  Adultery is primary grounds for divorce in American laws, a crime in many societies, and is illegal in some countries.

Adultery is the one commandment I didn’t understand the meaning of when I was a kid in Sunday school.  I kept asking the teachers and my parents what it meant and never really got a straight, clear answer from any of them.  I thought that adultery meant you shouldn’t hang around adults!  When I was around ten years old, the meaning of adultery got clear because Another kid had accused me of it, and also something worse which I can’t write about here.  I felt horrible that I was a 10-year-old adulterer, even though I had no idea what it meant. So I looked it up in a dictionary.

Just as we are taught that there is only one God, this Commandment on primary sexual relations with only our spouse, our beloved “one,” is vitally important.  The act of sexual love to me is a deep spiritual gift from God, and I need to highly respect it.  Loving my wife, and only my wife in a physical expression is at the center of our bond in love.  If there is another, that spiritual bond is diluted.

Dr. Harville Hendrix, author of “Getting the Love You Want,” labels adultery and extra-marital affairs as “exits.”  He and his wife, Helen Lakelly Hunt, teach that marriage is a spiritual agreement, and if we “exit” that, we are not only draining that spiritual energy, we are putting our relationship at total risk.  It’s much better to close the exit, and put our attention and energy back with each other, in order to give each other what we truly need and want, and that’s love.

Worse, adultery on a practical level is hurtful and even lethal.  If there is another lover, that means I am less-loved.  I am not the center of importance, and my gift of love would not be fully given or accepted; it would be diminished.  The connection of our marriage would leak; our spiritual and physical bonds would be disrupted.  If I were to have sex with another, I would also be exposing myself and my spouse to sexually transmitted diseases, some of those are potentially deadly.

I am blessed that my wife loves me, and that we’re married.  God gave me a great gift of my wife, Catherine.  I respect her, and love her, and I see God in her.  To commit adultery would be a betrayal of that gift from God, in her.

Finally, Jesus Christ teaches us a further point about that Commandment of adultery.  He says, from (Matthew 5, NIV) ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Even to think about sex with another is fueling the problem of zapping love and energy, and harming relationships in marriage.  This includes pornography, too, I think.  It’s always better to channel your love and sexual appetites back towards your marriage than to let it leak out towards others or sexual images.

On a sideline point, I have also had the gift from God to visit Mt. Sinai in Egypt.  I walked and prayed where Moses walked, and received the Ten Commandments.  I love it that there’s now a monastery there, St. Catherine’s Monastery, built in the 6th century.  I was able to go there with the filming of my movie, about ancient prayers and practices, which will come out next year. It’s called “Living with God,” click here for more details.  Mt. Sinai has become one of my favorite places on earth, and I cannot wait to return.

Please comment on the Ten Commandments, and specifically on adultery below.  We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

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