Yesterday, Hubby and I joined our daughter at a youth group event focusing on Martin Luther King Jr. The man did great things. I believe the Spirit spoke through him to our country. I still can't hear the end of the "I Have a Dream" speech without tearing up -- I'm a sucker for powerful words containing powerful truth delivered in a powerful way.
But all I could think about last night was an unfortunate fact I learned about him in recent years: he cheated on his wife. Many times over.
I know, I know . . . this doesn't discredit any of the great things he did. All of us have our secret sins that we struggle with -- we'd all be shocked to see the ugliness in the lives of our greatest heroes, I'm sure. But this particular sin has been hounding me lately.
I just finished reading O'Reilly's Killing Patton (if you're curious for a review, a good book, but not as compelling to me as his other three). Patton cheated on his wife. FDR cheated on Eleanor. Everyone knows about Kennedy's dalliances (from one of O'Reilly's earlier books). And of course, history is filled with stories of influential men and women who fell in the same way. Frankly, I'm so tired of hearing about great people who change the world but can't keep the most basic promise they make to the person they are supposed to put first in their lives. Depressing.
What's worse, I seem to be inundated with stories of friends whose marriages are on the rocks right now because of adultery. Several more just in the last month or so.
Good grief. It makes me despair of my own daughters ever getting wed. I don't want to watch them suffer the pain of that kind of betrayal, and I've started to feel lately like it's almost inevitable that it will happen to one of them. If nothing else, I will probably spend their entire married lives watching for signs, suspicious . . . and I don't want to do that.
Why does sexual sin -- in every form -- so permeate our society? Not just our society . . . the world. Throughout history. Sex is a blessed gift from God. Why does mankind consistently mess it up so badly? Why can't we get this right?
A book I'm reading reminds me that the marriage relationship is a picture of our relationship with God. (In fact, every significant relationship we experience in life is used in scripture to tell us more about us and God.) And scripture also uses the experience of adultery as a metaphor for how we, on our end, broke that relationship.
That's sobering. I have just as adulterous a heart as all these philanderers I've mentioned. I consistently turn away from the One I gave my life to, the One I promised to put first in my life, and turn to other gods for relationship and satisfaction. And yet He calls me back -- over and over -- loves me anyway -- never lets go of me. Unbelievable.
If we weren't capable of such profound depths of sin, we would never know the extent of God's love and mercy and grace. What an amazing God we serve. He makes ALL things work for our good, even the sin and rebellion we repent of.