Every news channel is the country is reporting on General Petraeus’ cheating ways. The issue at hand isn’t that he cheated. It’s that someone who should know better, practices and enforces control and understands the risk of inappropriate behavior, fell into sexual deviancy.
This probably seems like an unusual way to start out an essay on men and their temptation toward mid-life adultery, but it really isn’t. Take a look at Petraeus’s biblical namesake.
David was a man. He was a man after God’s own heart. He had wives and concubines. He had wealth, power, success and significance. Whatever men are supposed to want in life, David had it. But he’s brought down by adultery with the neighbor’s wife. He’s ruined by the sin of lust that every college student understands. He’s brought down, and his nation brought down, by a sin that stalks the mid-life man relentlessly, and far too often, wins out over good men with David-like success and achievements.
It is a sickness of the soul and moral core of a man.
When you look at what has happened to Colonel Petraeus it boils down to two things.
1. Adultery happens to men who do not have a truthful perspective on their own sexuality.
Sexuality is the hard-wiring and software installation of God’s creative design. It is not something we do. It is who we are. Sexuality is as much a part of you as an ignition or fuel system parts of a car. When the car “runs”, it is because these systems “run”. When you are a man, you are a sexual man. The separation of male sexuality from Godly identity has been a disaster. One cannot run without good balance and morals.
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2. Lack of self-control and responsibility.
One of the marks of male juvenileness, and likely eventual downfall, is the tendency to put the emphasis on flirtatious women, scantily clad women, women with cleavage, women who smile at you etc. They use the usual passing the buck of excuses. The guy about to commit adultery is a person with a marriage he’s neglected and a wife he’s turning into an excuse to step out on. He is convincing himself he deserves something rather than admitting he is responsible for something.
Our battle to control our sexual desires is complicated by several factors. Few desires can match the potential strength of sexual passion. We are also aware that sexual passion often starts as a small spark, but its tendency is to grow into a raging forest fire. Furthermore, the environment of the average American does little to assist in the struggle against sexual sin. Our society places an unhealthy and unnatural emphasis on sexual relationships. Television seems to be unable to advertise even tennis shoes or toothpaste without somehow associating the product with sexual overtones. The theme of so many television programs and movies seems to be some sexual situation, usually immoral. Computers and easy access to the Internet provide still further challenge as pornography is made readily available to young and old alike. In short, we are bombarded with material whose effect and often whose design is to inflame our sexual passions, making self-control in this area a constant battle.
Though Americans still believe in marriage and indicate a strong desire to marry, we have become so focused on personal fulfillment that a marriage that doesn’t afford us considerable personal growth and fulfillment over and above what we started with is routinely abandoned.
What do you think?