TODAY’S FORECAST: Committed
I’m going to combine two commandments into today’s post because I think they strongly relate to one another. I also want to give you a SPOILER ALERT and let you know that this post will include some plot description and scenes from the movie, “Fireproof,” so if you haven’t watched the movie, you may not want to watch the included videos or read the commentary I’ve included in the last few paragraphs regarding the film. I definitely don’t want to ruin it for you, it’s an incredible movie; one I would highly recommend watching, especially for those of you who are married or engaged. With all that being said, the commandments I want to take a look at today are:
You shall not commit adultery. ~AND~ You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
I don’t think that I have to tell anyone that infidelity has been sneaking its way into our culture for centuries. It’s been used as a theme in literature such as in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s historical romance, The Scarlett Letter and Gustave Flaubert’s, Madame Bovary. In television we’ve seen it in various popular prime time sitcoms over the years such as Dallas, Roseanne, Friends, ER and Grey’s Anatomy. We’ve seen national leaders give into adulterous behaviour such as in the instances of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, John Edwards and many more. Celebrities are practically born into a lifestyle of infidelity; hence the string of broken Hollywood relationships that plague tabloid headlines.
In all these instances, however, there were physical acts of cheating; that is, two partners choosing to have sexual encounters outside of their previously committed relationships. In our culture’s exposé of adultery in literature, media, through authority figures and Hollywood, we’ve softened as a society to the idea that “emotional infidelity” or carrying on in an affair where physical intimacy is excluded but where emotional intimacy or pleasure is not, it is somehow okay. Trust me when I say believe it’s not and that God doesn’t think so either. An “emotional affair” can be just as slippery of a slope as a physical one, it’s just somewhat more of a “slow fade.”
A perfect modern-day example of this is the movie, Fireproof. Fireproof was released in 2008 and quickly became an international success. Starring Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea, the film primarily focuses on a couple, Caleb (Cameron) and Catherine (Bethea) Holt, who have come to a difficult season in their marriage which leads to Catherine filing for divorce. Caleb is a firefighter who puts his job and other pleasures in his life above loving his wife and committing to their marriage. Catherine is a woman scorned who begins an “emotional affair” with a doctor at the hospital where she works. For all of Caleb’s inattention, Dr. Keller (Perry Revell) has enough compliments and kind gestures to make Catherine feel fulfilled outside of her marriage. Out of loving concern, Caleb’s Dad (Harris Malcolm) gives his son a book called The Love Dare that changes everything. Caleb soon learns that the mantra he carries in his work as a firefighter of “Never leave your partner behind” also applies to his marriage to Catherine. Through a series of eye-opening events, Catherine comes to realize it as well and together with God, they are able to save their marriage.
One of the theme songs of the movie is a song by the Christian musical group called Casting Crowns, titled “Slow Fade.” Listen to the music and see some scenes from the movie by clicking the play arrow on the video clip below. I would encourage you to listen to this once for the words to the song and then again to see some of the scenes as it’s hard to do both at the same time and fully appreciate the meaning.
I guess what really hits me about this movie is that never at any time was there any physical contact between Caleb and another woman and yet he found it perfectly alright to spend time looking at internet porn. “What’s the harm? It’s only impacting me?” That’s just it, his marriage was crumbling before his eyes and he didn’t even know it. It was a “slow fade.” Catherine was the same. While there was no sexual contact between her and Dr. Keller during their harmless lunches and flirtations, her world with her husband was unraveling and she didn’t even care. Again, a “slow fade.” Is it any surprise that for those of us who remain faithful to our marriages and partners and refuse to physically cheat on them, that the crafty liar, satan, wouldn’t find another way to get to us slowly instead of through such an obvious manner? It’s something to think about.
Lord, we ask that in this age of infidelity You put a holy “hedge” around our marriages and relationships to protect them from evil. Do not let us break either of your commandments regarding sexuality, not through sexual or emotional affairs, addictions to pornography or anything else that defeats the purpose of living our lives in harmony with and for You. Don’t allow the devil to destroy the sanctity of marriage through a “slow fade” of temptation. Help us to love and respect one another as You do us. We ask this in your name. Amen.