He is also known to be a conservative evangelical Christian. As a fellow Christian, the affair he pursued and his relationship with his wife and family is of much greater value to me than his political career. Those are the things of life with lasting substance.
It never ceases to amaze me how God’s Word reveals needful insight to our daily living when heartbreaking events like these occur. Reflecting on this spectacular debacle has caused me to mull over a few practical thoughts we as Christians ought to consider.
= We Christian men need to be diligent with guarding our hearts. The Proverbs tell us our heart is the seat of the whole of man. It is out of the heart that the issues of life spring (Prov. 4:23) and because of this we are to keep our heart, or guard it, with the utmost vigilance. In fact the word “keep,” or “guard,” pictures a solider watching the gate of a city to prevent an enemy from sneaking in to wreck havoc. In like manner, we too are to guard our hearts with the same amount of diligence against encroaching enemies who seek to undo us morally.
This goes beyond a man just indulging his lust gazing at pornography and other explicit images on the internet. I would ask, who it is with whom you correspond? Governor Sanford carried on an email exchange with the woman in question for a while before their relationship became a physical affair. Internet communities like Facebook are good ways to stay in touch with friends, but it can also be a person’s undoing as the spark to ignite adultery. A husband is re-acquainted with an old girl friend from the 10th grade, or a gal he dated a couple of times from his college astronomy club, they begin exchanging secret emails, and with a matter of time, he is making travel plans for a “business” trip to St. Louis where this old friend just happens to live. Perhaps such a scenario sounds a bit out of the ordinary, but I personally know a handful of Christian men, including some personalities my blog readers would know, to whom this very thing happened. All because they didn’t guard their heart.
Instead of writing love emails to an old girlfriend, write them to your wife. Do as Proverbs 5:15ff. commands and drink deeply from the wells of your marriage and be satisfied with the breasts of your wife. This is the woman with whom you pledged your love and devotion in marriage, is she not worth keeping your heart protected for her exclusive use?
= Ladies, do not underestimate the power of sex in marriage and how important it is to your husband. Christian ladies, if I may be frank (and at the risk of coming close to sounding like Mark Driscoll): men love sex. I believe a good majority of men would heartily agree with me. The minority agree with me in silence for fear of being called a pervert. Granted, I agree we are not to be piggish, and we are to exercise self-control and respect toward women (another part of guarding our hearts), but sex is a big part of who were are as men.
Regrettably, I believe some muddle headed misconceptions of what is considered spiritual has clouded the minds of young Christian ladies regarding this dimension of their marriages.
First, please understand your husband is not a pervert because he so eagerly looks forward to this joyful aspect your all’s marriage. A wife should rejoice that her husband so delights himself with her. Now that is not to give excuse to the husband to act like an insensitive, gropey troglodyte toward his wife. Just know that it is his duty to be drunk on your love (Prov. 5:19), and a husband cannot be intoxicated with his wife’s love if she only unlocks the liquor cabinet on a few occasions.
Secondly, our Christian culture, or at least the one I tend to circulate in, places a heavy emphasis upon a woman’s character. She should seek godly virtue, chastity, modesty, and abstain from worldly appearances. Such is certainly a God honoring pursuit, because believe me, a godly man wants a virtuous, chaste and modest wife. No sincere Christian man wishes to be married to a diamond in a swine’s snout and live out his married life sitting in the corner of his roof top. The virtues of my wife’s character was the primary attributes which drew me to her. But, Christian wives sometimes pursue chastity and modesty at the expense of their appearance. Modesty does not equate to frumpy and plain, and abstaining from the world does not have to entail dressing and behaving like a prudish old maid.
= Realize our sinful actions also impact others. Sin does not just impact the person doing the sinful behavior. Those around the person are also affected; both believers and unbelievers. Believers become disheartened and discouraged, where as unbelievers are stirred up to mock God and His ways. And the more well known a person is and the bigger the sin may be, could send shock waves throughout a community which will reverberate for many years to come. Let such a dreadful scenario sink deeply into your heart.
= Marvel at how sin can make the most sober-minded, intelligent person to act stupidly. Cheating on his wife was bad, but worse still was the utter reckless irresponsibility the governor took in order to pursue his affair. A high, national, official just up and leaves his professional duties for which he was elected by trusting voters and thinks no one will notice? A Christian should never disregard the power of sin. To do so could lead to catastrophic displays of incompetence that could jeopardize many who surround us.