I had planned to blog about the new Disney movie, “The Princess and The Frog,” this week, yet I feel something more pressing right now. (Please believe that I’ll come back to that topic though).
It seems that 2009 is becoming the year of the affair. I don’t know that a month goes by without someone admitting (or being exposed for) an extramarital affair. And honestly, it breaks my heart.
Now, I have been silent about the whole Tiger Woods incident because I really had nothing new, appropriate, or beneficial to add to the gossip and speculation currently in circulation. However, after reading a tweet (and subsequently doing a bit of research) I found something that I was equally shocked and disappointed about (which I won’t go into the details of because you can find them for yourself). Allegedly, Gospel artists Da T.R.U.T.H. and Tye Tribbett have both recently had extramarital affairs. I guess we can chalk them up beside the dozens of other Christian artists and pastors who haven’t been completely appropriate in their sexual relations — whether with the opposite or the same sex. (I know they’re only allegations, but many times, the allegations are equally as damaging as the confirmation of the affair. Do we need examples? I think not)
While I’m shocked, I’d be lying if I said, “I could never see it happening.” It’s not a total, complete surprise. Does that mean I expected this to happen? That I knew they would fall? Not at all. But I do understand that Christian artists, pastors, and their families are human — something we often lose sight of. This means that they are just as prone to fall into temptations and sin as anyone else. They are certainly not immune to the challenges and temptations that “everyday” Christians are faced with. If anything, they face a higher level of temptation and a greater threat because of their influence.
So should we hold them to a higher standard because of their position of leadership within the body of Christ? Absolutely. And they, just as anyone else, should face consequences when they fall. That’s not for us to decide, however. Leave that to their pastors and spiritual authorities to decide. That’s what they’re there for.
But if we think that, for one minute, what’s happened to them could never happen to us, indeed we’ve already taken a step in that direction. No one is ever immune from temptation. Some great pastors (and bloggers) Shaun King, Craig Groeschel, and Perry Noble have all written about some of the steps that they take in order to avoid moral failure, as well as to avoid putting themselves in situations where something could occur and accusations could arise.
Perry Noble says he, “do[es] not ride in a car alone with a woman other than [his] wife! [He} will not be on an elevator alone with another woman. [He] will not counsel a woman alone.” He also makes a very valid point that’s often overlooked for the sake of convenience. He, “will not share a meal in a restaurant with a woman with it being just the two of us…under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! EVER!”
Craig Groeschel takes similar steps. He says, ” I never travel overnight alone. All my internet activity is monitored. We block television stations with bad shows. We have the highest governing standards for financial accountability.” Perhaps most pertinent to this discussion, he says that he is, “never alone with a woman.”
Shaun King takes steps to safeguard from any allegations as well. On his blog, he writes that, “[m]y wife (and other people) ha[ve] access to every cell phone, laptop, bank account, email account, voicemail, social network, text message, etc. that I have or use.” Shaun also goes, “to great lengths to never be alone with another woman. [He has] other people in authority that [he] answer[s] to and moral covenants that [he] ha[s] signed off on with consequences for moral failure.” He makes sure to “surround [him]self with great examples of what it means to have integrity in life and marriage.”
Perhaps you’re thinking that some of those steps are a little “much.” Or that they’re just taking it too far. And you’d be absolutely right to a certain degree — they do take it far; they do a lot to avoid situations where they could compromise. But, I’d ask, can you ever do too much to protect your family, and even your ministry, from becoming another statistic? Another reason that people can point to and say, “See! Christians aren’t any better than the rest of the world!” Is there a point to which you wouldn’t go to protect your marriage? If so, I’d argue that your marriage may not have the priority that it should. But that’s another story. I digress.
The bottom line is this: You can’t have sex with someone if you’re never alone with them. Yes, intimacy often starts with an emotional connection — that’s the reason the above mentioned pastors also had other safeguards in place — but emotional connections often turn physical at some point. So…
Let me say it again: You can’t have sex with someone if you’re never alone with them.
For all the married men and women reading this, please, do yourself, your family, your spouse, and God a favor and take the necessary steps to protect yourself from becoming just another person who has fallen into the trap of an extramarital affair.