Category Archives: internet

Fidelity is not asking “How far can I go?”

All the hoopla about Rep. Anthony Weiner has gotten people (and the media) talking about infidelity and asking themselves “Is Sexting the New Infidelity in the Online Era?”  There are numerous articles right now discussing whether sexting even IS infidelity or not, whether it is infidelity to have cybersex, or whether emotional affairs are even real!  Yet with all this talk with so-called “experts” spouting psychobabble opinions, one MAJOR thing is missed.  Why are we talking about infidelity like this: “How far can I go?  What is the boundary so that I can push the limits and then quote this or that ‘expert’ and claim that it not an affair”?  When we got married, we made a vow to forsake all others until death parted us, so rather than look at it asking for the maximum you can do before it’s cheating, I challenge you (the reader) to look at it from a new point of view and ask “What is faithfulness?  What do I do to be 100% faithful to my spouse?”

Fidelity, according to the American Heritage dictionary, is:

  • Faithfulness to obligations, duties, or observances.
  • Exact correspondence with fact or with a given quality, condition, or event; accuracy.

Of course it doesn’t help that they use the word “faithfulness” in the definition–but we could further say that faithfulness is “devotion to a person or duties: allegiance , constancy , fealty , loyalty.”  In other words, fidelity would be “the state of loyalty and devotion to obligations, duties, and observances that are owed to a certain person (namely your spouse).

In addition, there are several Bible verses that can help us get a grasp on what faithfulness means:

Psalm 26:3
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness

Psalm 36:5 and Psalm 57:10 and Psalm 108:4
Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Psalm 89:2
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

Psalm 117:2
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

I realize these are all Old Testament references but I think we can get the concept: namely that faithfulness is following through with a commitment regardless of difficulty.  It is over a long time, and it is based on a conscious decision to BE loyal and devoted to a promise.  If we are married people, the promise we would be loyal and devoted to is our marriage vows.

Soooo most marriage vows do promise the “…forsaking all others” part in there somewhere as well as the “…as long as we both shall live” part.  Most marriage vows I know of do not say something like “…forsaking all others until I get bored or until someone more interesting comes along” nor do they say “…as long as you continue to have sex whether I’m romantic or not.”  Thus fidelity is a DECISION.  Like love, it is a choice you make and then act on.  You CHOOSE to be faithful.  And to make it easy, I have a 2-second definition of faithfulness that you can memorize:

Giving 100% of your affection and loyalty to only your spouse.

So rather than asking if it is cheating to have a guy or girl “friend” on Facebook, ask yourself this:  Are you more loyal to keeping that friend then you are to your spouse?  Then it’s infidelity.  And rather than asking if sexting is an affair, ask yourself this: When I’m sexting am I giving 100% of my affection to my spouse or am I sharing at least some of it with someone else?  When I’m sexting am I giving 100% of my sexual loyalty to my spouse?  If not, then it’s infidelity!

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The pastor who said quit FB or resign was involved in affairs himself. Should our past stop us from ministering?

The pastor who told his church leaders to either quit Facebook or resign their leadership posts has created a buzz again when it was discovered that the good reverend had an affair himself–with his wife and a male church assistant!  As I understand it, the threesome was ten years ago, so it predated Facebook, and even though they participated together, it would be considered sexual impurity.  Then in 2003 there was a criminal case against the male church assistant, and that is when the facts of unfaithfulness came to light.

In my article as Portland Infidelity Examiner, The Pastor, Facebook, and Threesomes,  I did examine two relevant topics that have been intertwined: Is Facebook really the CAUSE of infidelity?  Should the pastor’s past unfaithfulness make any difference today?  In summary, my conclusions are no and no!  No–Facebook does not cause infidelity and we would serve married couples MUCH more effectively by teaching them how to be faithful, how to honor their commitment, and how to affair-proof their marriages by restarting Love Kindlers and ending Love Extinguishers!  Facebook is not the CAUSE of infidelity–infidelity is a symptom of a much greater illness in the marriage.  And No–what he did in the past and repented of has been forgiven if he confessed his sin.  If it’s forgiven, it is gone and irrelevant to the topic at hand.

BUT that the concept of forgiveness brings up a really tender topic for me that I’d like to address right out loud.  One of my good friends, The Holy Handmaiden, recently wrote a post about being Inadequate, and the two of us have been going back and forth a bit about how we both feel less that suitable to do what we’ve been called to do!  Like Moses, we sort of tell God, “But…but…but  I stutter!  You can’t want ME to go talk to pharaoh!”  Of course our heads realize He is the Almighty God and He’s arranged our lives precisely so we are the vessel He can use, but when it comes time to actually do it…well it can be intimidating.  Especially in my line of work, so many times people say to me, in a somewhat ‘holier-than-thou’ tone: “How can YOU teach people about infidelity and marriage.  You were divorced!  You haven’t had a marriage that lasted for decades” and you know what?  They’re right!

Here’s the truth.  I’m no more perfect than any of you.  In fact, I can say that I’ve had times in my life when I messed up BADLY!  One of the reasons my ex and I did divorce is that I married a man who was not a Christian–mainly because he was cute and because I liked him and didn’t want God to tell me what to do!  And the price I paid for that outright disobedience was a divorce and losing my family.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure you can all identify with looking back on your life when you were ‘young and dumb’ and realizing “Oh yeah–that was wrong.” Ideally God wants us to grow up in godly households where our parents stay married,  where we learn to obey God, where we marry other Christians, and live our entire lives to His glory.  But in the USA in 2010, pretty few of us come from homes that aren’t broken; we weren’t ‘young and dumb’; we have happy, stable, committed, loving marriages; and we have served God our whole lives.  (Just a note–even MOSES didn’t meet that criteria, and I’m telling ya, God used that man!)

So I have not lived a life that pleased God.  I’ve also paid the consequences for my choices.  And you know why I am still absolutely 100% convinced that this is what God calls me to do?  Because as Christians, part of our central doctrines is Forgiveness.  Our faith recognizes that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and that would include Pastor Miller’s past…and mine.  Our faith also recognizes that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just  to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)  We ALL sin!  So if we sincerely repent, ask God for forgiveness, and demonstrate a change toward godly behavior…then guess what?  It’s in the past, forgiven, and irrelevant to the matter at hand!   Yes, I suspect a person who has been happily married for decades, who understands the concepts of Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers, and who teaches what covenant really is by their life may have a better life witness of those concepts.  After all–they’ve lived them!  But lots of people who persevere in their marriage, do so without husbands loving their wives, wives respecting their husbands, or using their marriage as a mirror of the kind of relationship the Church has with Christ too.  Living together for decades without divorcing is also no guarantee either, I’ve discovered.  Sadly, many of the people we talk to have been married 20 or 30 years or more, and if they neglect their marriage, it can still end up in divorce!

Noah got drunk and laid naked in front of everyone. Jacob got his daughter-in-law pregnant because he thought she was a hooker.  Moses, murdered a man for hitting a Hebrew.  Ruth spent the night with a man who wasn’t her husband at the place that was known for sexual immorality.  King David killed a man so he could commit adultery with his wife.  Even the apostle Paul murdered Christians before he became a Christian.  And God USED THEM because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  2 Cor. 12:9 says “But he said to me,’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me .”  I join with the Apostle Paul in stating right out loud that I’m inadequate so that Christ’s power can rest on me..  Thankfully I serve the Lord God Almighty and He is more than adequate!

>Offline

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Yesterday, about mid-day, the internet at our house died for no apparent reason. I was typing along on the internet, working away, when it started to run slower and then eventually disconnected altogether. We happen to be customers of a large, national company that provides phone, internet and cable TV services–on the occasion that company does a tweek here or a service thing there, and the internet has a little hiccup, so at first we just waited for service to come back. As a few minutes stretched into half an hour we knew it was more than a “blip” so we tried resetting the router in the house. That didn’t work so we tried resetting the modem from the company…and that’s when we saw it. The modem was getting a signal but it was not sending one out. Furthermore, when we turned it off to reset it, there had been three lights and now there were only two. Something was definitely wrong! Once we realized something was actually wrong, we decided to call the company for service. After all they can often do a few things over the phone and presto! Well…the phones could dial and we could hear them but they couldn’t hear us. What in the world was going on?

Just so you know, we did finally figure out what happened–we had a huge power surge at the house. We called the company using a cell phone and managed to get through to have them do several diagnostics and walk us through a few things. Apparently the power surge took out a power supply, the company modem and affected our phones. We had to struggle through the night with no internet whatsoever, but in the morning the repairman came to the house to replace the company modem, we installed a new power supply and everything seems just fine. I was tickled to be able to be online today!

Being without the internet, we had to resort to connecting the old-school way: talking. We spent the night talking about ideas, writing articles, discussing concepts, reading the Bible and contemplating what it meant, reading a story that we’re reading together, and even watching a movie with our son. But being without the internet taught me an important lesson. How often do we as lovers and parents sit at our computers at night and play a game or goof around on Facebook, and let hours pass by when we are not really connecting with our spouses or children? Last night we had ALL KINDS of time to be with each other, discuss ourselves and our feelings and our days, spend time with our children and read the Bible. Other nights it seems like we have so little time–yet it’s the same 24 hours that we always have every day. What was the difference? No internet.

So I learned that like quicksand, the internet can suck a person in–even if they are sucked into working on a good cause! Slowly more and more time and attention is spent online: writing, talking, replying, even playing. Is the internet evil? No. But it’s just another way that a couple can be distracted from their obligation to connect to their spouse, to be present for them, or to demonstrate loving actions. Yes the internet can be a tool to connect also but just a word for the wise–is the internet preventing you from spending time with your spouse? Could your marriage be weakened or vulnerable due to the internet? Build a strong, affair-free marriage by not allowing a communication tool to capture your time, energy and thoughts…and offer those instead to the one you love.