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)
- 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?
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
Finally, God intervened and this guy began dating a young girl.
THANK YOU, LORD!!!!!!
- Was I responsible for my own behavior? Yes.
- Was I to blame for my sin in God’s sight? Yes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- rebellion against God’s Word
- 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.)
- 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.