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When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:13-15 NIV

It’s easy in our culture for us as women to feel like men are often “more to blame” than women when there is a sexual sin – fornication, adultery, etc.  

It is easy for me to feel like a man targeted me or that he knew what he was doing, and I was a victim.  (I am not talking about rape or sexual abuse or children here – I am talking about flirting, emotional affairs, adultery, sexual affairs and fornication that is mutually consensual in this post.)

  • Sometimes we women aren’t always the best judges of character when our emotions are involved. I think it is wise for us to have a godly dad or trusted older wife mentor to keep us accountable and to protect us and to run things past them and get their opinions and wisdom on the men we are talking with.
  • Sometimes men do specifically target us or try to tempt us.  They are responsible to God for their sin.  Absolutely.

But what about us?

Let’s talk about this difficult issue together.

I’ll use myself as an example.

  • As an adult, I am responsible for my sin.  No one else is.  Other people may tempt me, but God commands me to live without sin.  We will each stand accountable for every thought, word, motive and action before God.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:23.

This verse means that when I sin, I deserve death in God’s sight.  That is what is fair and just.  I deserve hell, eternal separation from God and judgement because of my sin.  If we received the gift Jesus offers us of His death in our place and we commit ourselves to obey and follow Him as LORD, the blood of Christ will cover our sins that we have repented of.

THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!!!!!

We are all so desperately sinful and desperately in need of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.  None of us are holy.  For all have sinned and fall (VERY) short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Back in 1996
(I have talked about this sin of mine before in another post.)
Some reasons I was vulnerable to sin – wrong thinking on my part and isolating circumstances:
  • I thought it was fine to be friends with men under practically any circumstances.
  • I was extremely naïve back then.  I mean – EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY naïve.
  • I knew nothing about how men thought.  I thought they all thought just like I did.
  • I had no idea that men were visual or what that meant.
  • I complained about my husband to other men.  I confided about my marriage troubles to them.
  • I had no idea that most men struggle with lust.  If I had understood what a lot of men think about back then – I am not sure I would have ever left my house!
  • I knew nothing about some men’s ulterior motives.
  • My husband was shut down at the time.  He barely spoke to me sometimes.  I was very lonely.
  • I worked 88 hours on nights one week, then was off the next week.  Greg was working on my week off.  We were on opposite shifts. I had never been so lonely in my life.
  • I had already become a controlling, disrespectful wife – and had SELF as an idol in my heart and PRIDE in my heart that I always knew best.
  • I was a people pleaser – I didn’t realize that was idolatry, too. But I put other people’s approval above God’s approval in my heart.
  • I was isolated working nights in a very slow pharmacy.
  • I was afraid being in the pharmacy by myself at night.
  • I didn’t think men would be tempted by me – I thought I was not attractive enough to be someone a guy would want.  Back then, most people thought I was 12 years old even though I was around 23 at the time.  I didn’t have a womanly figure.  I thought I was off of men’s radar screens.  I believe that this is part of why I didn’t think it was necessary to guard my heart and why I didn’t recognize my pride – I believed some lies.
  • I was used to having a lot of guy friends in high school and college.  I was oblivious to any of them having romantic feelings for me unless they were REALLY obvious about it.
  • Some police officers started to hang around and talk with me, I thought, “I’ll just be friendly to them like I would be to anyone.  They’ll keep me safe.”
  • I didn’t understand that things would progressively get worse and more intense with men flirting with me.
  • I didn’t know how to properly handle a man coming on to me as a married woman.
  • Almost all of the officers were friendly, then several started flirting with me in time and I was clueless about what to do.

I didn’t realize that I inadvertently issued this one particular guy a “challenge” by telling him I wouldn’t date him even if I weren’t married because he wasn’t a Christian. So he targeted me – I realize that now.   I had no idea what he was doing.  I would get nervous sometimes, and freak out that he seemed to be pursuing me romantically sometimes, and then he would casually back off for weeks and say, “We’re just FRIENDS, April!  We’re cool.  Don’t worry about it.”  So I would relax a bit and eventually let my guard down again.  I believed his words.  (That was really dumb of me!)

I ALSO BELIEVED SOME LIES

  • I always thought I was “above” adultery – PRIDE and self-righteousness
  • I believed lies that “men can’t be attracted to me.”
  • I thought I was incapable of adultery – PRIDE and self-righteousness
  • I thought I was “safe” because I had a wedding ring on – that was a foolish way of thinking
  • I thought I was safe being with police officers – they were there to protect me, right?  – Did I mention I was EXTREMELY naive?

I DID HAVE WARNINGS:

Greg didn’t warn me.  But a very godly coworker tried to and my sister and her husband tried to warn me about the dangers of me talking to this man so much.  Did I listen?

Nope.

I foolishly, arrogantly pushed forward and justified how much I was talking to the guy because “I am witnessing to him.”

  • The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.  Proverbs 22:3
Turns out that I was not above any sin and I was not safe.  Pride comes before a fall.  That was one of my first sins in this situation – my HUGE pride.
I wish my husband had said not to talk with him anymore.  I wanted him to tell me that.  He never said anything. So, “if Greg had no problem with it, it wasn’t wrong, right?”  Wrong. I had no idea what to do.  I tried to back off – then the guy would get really upset and angry with me.

That scared me. I had never had a guy do that before to me.  So I would keep talking to him to placate him.  I was intimidated by him being a police officer and I didn’t want to tick him off because then if I got robbed and needed help, I was afraid he wouldn’t come.

Finally, God intervened and this guy began dating a young girl.

THANK YOU, LORD!!!!!!

I was SO RELIEVED!!!!!!!
Thankfully, by God’s grace alone, things had not gotten physical between us.
I could have easily destroyed my marriage and thrown it all away. 🙁  It would have been my fault, my responsibility.  I made a series of foolish and sinful decisions.  Did this guy sin against me?  Yes.  Did he try to tempt me?  Yes.
BUT…
  • Was I responsible for my own behavior?  Yes.
  • Was I to blame for my sin in God’s sight?  Yes.
I may have been even more to blame because I had Christ and this man didn’t.  Of course, I wasn’t living in the power of God’s Spirit at the time.  That was a big part of the problem!
MY SIN IN THIS SCENARIO:
  • PRIDE – thinking I was above certain sins and I didn’t need to protect my heart or be careful, thinking I knew better than everyone else, thinking I was invincible and didn’t need to take precautions.
  • Self-righteousness – thinking I was better than other people.
  • foolishness – I had very little godly wisdom and almost no discretion whatsoever.
  • Being so foolish as to pridefully and self-righteously announce, “I wouldn’t date you even if I were available because you aren’t a Christian.”  BAD IDEA!
  • Idolatry of self and of romantic feelings.
  • I confided in this other guy about my frustrations and complaints about my husband. SO FOOLISH! That gave him the chance to empathize and console me and to tell me, “Well, if I was married to you, I’d do THIS…”
  • My continual disrespect of my husband and controlling behavior was a big reason why my husband had shut down on me during that time.
  • I didn’t guard my heart.   I had never learned to guard my heart.  I thought being a Christian meant being an open book with EVERYONE.  Wrong.
  • I didn’t tell the guy to stop coming to see me.   I was afraid to make him angry, but I was responsible for setting limits and guarding my heart – I just didn’t understand that at the time.
  • I was reading my Bible constantly – I should have been able to see the warnings in Proverbs and I Corinthians 6. But I didn’t, or I ignored them, thinking I was invincible to this temptation.  I should have gotten help.
  • I didn’t turn down his advances strongly enough.
  • I flirted back – I had no right to do that!  I was a married woman.
  • I enjoyed feeling so enamored by this “magnetic,” “charming” man.   That was sin.
  • I imagined how wonderful it would be to be married to him because he made me “feel so special,” seemed to “understand me so well,” and he seemed to care about me so much more than Greg seemed to at the time.   I let my thoughts run unchecked.  I didn’t take every thought captive. That was called LUST.  It was sin.  It grieved God’s heart deeply.  I wasn’t so much lusting after him sexually.  It was more of an emotional, romantic kind of lust – if that makes sense?  But – it was still HUGE SIN.
Did I know in my soul that what I was doing was wrong?  Yes.
Should I have stopped it as soon as I realized it had started?  Yes.  Even if it “hurt his feelings” or he “got mad at me.”
  • There are reasons why I was vulnerable to sin with this man.
  • BUT, I am still accountable to God for my sin.

We all have reasons why we sin.  That does not justify our sin in God’s eyes.  Sin is still sin.  It always grieves our holy God’s heart.

Later – when other men came on to me, I was much more careful to protect myself, guard my heart, guard my marriage and tell men to stop their behavior immediately.
I STILL must be extremely careful to guard my heart.
Now, thankfully, Greg will also tell me if he sees that there is someone I need to stop interacting with.  I’m very thankful for him doing that to help protect me.  Now, I am much more keenly aware of just how easily an emotional affair could start.  And now that I understand men so much more and what respect is all about – I know I have to guard my heart even more than ever before.  I am not above adultery now.  I must guard my heart, abide in Christ daily and take every thought captive for Christ, repenting as soon as I realize anything is wrong or sinful in my mind and I tell my accountability partners or my husband about it immediately.  I am a huge target of the enemy now.  He would love nothing more than to destroy my marriage now.  I cannot let my guard down for a moment.  I hope you will pray for God to protect me and keep me from temptation.  I would rather God take me home to heaven than that I would ever fall into a scandal and bring dishonor to Christ.
A man and a woman may approach the same ultimate sin in different ways.  
  • His way may “seem more sinful” to us from our human, female perspective because he may be focusing on illicit sex and we may be focusing on illicit feelings/illicit romance.  But to God – we both sinned.  We were both equally guilty and we are both equally sinful.
THERE IS HOPE!
This is where the grace of Christ comes in, my precious sisters!  When we have sinned, we need God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace.   What I did was lust and sin in my heart after that police officer and I imagined being married to him and how amazing it would be.  Of course, now, I know it would have been a total disaster.  What I did was sin.  It grieved God’s heart.
You and I are responsible for our own sin to God.  Men will stand accountable to God for their sin, too.
I John 1:9
“if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  
I John 2
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.3We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5But if anyone obeys his word, love for Goda is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
Jesus took our sin on Himself, as if He had committed our sins instead of us. He bore God’s wrath in our place.  We deserved death.  We deserved hell.  But, in His great mercy, love and grace, He placed His righteousness and holiness on us so that when God looks at us – He sees His Son’s perfection and total righteousness.
Wow.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”   Luke 7:47
You and I have been forgiven MUCH.  Now we are free to love Christ MUCH. 🙂  I sure do!  He is the BEST thing that ever happened to me!
 I understand now that all people are totally capable of any sin if they are far enough from Christ and have the right temptation and set of circumstances.
I don’t look down on or judge any of you.  I am the chief of sinners myself.  What room do I have to judge?
I have all of the following sins and more under my belt:
  • decades of idolatry of self and of being in control and idolatry of “feeling loved”  (There is no worse sin than idolatry – I constantly broke the 1st commandment every waking moment for about 30 years.)
  • decades of PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE – putting myself above others and above God
  • self-righteousness
  • rebellion against God’s Word
  • bitterness
  • unforgiveness
  • resentment  (If I hate someone in my heart – God counts that as murder – I John 2.  If I won’t forgive others, God will not forgive me.  Matthew 6.  This is HUGE sin.)
  • gossip
  • that infatuation with a man – an emotional affair – that lasted for months
  • disrespect for my husband for 14+ years
  • disrespect for God for 30
  • trying to control my husband and others
  • perfectionism (which is idolatry)
  • people pleasing (also idolatry)
  • materialism (more idolatry)
  • greed (idolatry)
  • etc…  this is not remotely an exhaustive list of all of my sins.
I’m a wretched sinner.  There is no good in me on my own.  I NEED JESUS DESPERATELY.
So do you.
I’m so thankful He was willing to stand in our place and absorb the wrath of God against my sin and yours that we fully deserved, even though He didn’t deserve it at all.
There is every reason for hope in Christ!  He can give us a new heart, a new soul and new life here on earth now.  And He can give us life with Him forever in heaven after we die.  He is the ONLY One who can do this for us.
Don’t allow yourself to have “worldly sorrow that leads to death,” but allow God to give you “godly sorrow that leads to repentance” and new life in Christ.
Much love to you!
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