Monday, August 07, 2006

When is sin justified?

Recently a friend of Nancy's called with the news that her husband had left her. It sounded like the classic mid-life crisis that we have seen played out with friends and acquaintances in the last few years. This time my initial reaction was not as sympathetic as it could have been. There is always the other side of the story and I wonder what sort of environment this guy was living in. Was their life a living hell?

When I listen to women discussing these situations amongst themselves the conversation usually rolls around to a rant about how men are such Cretans--how can they do such cruel things? Do women ever consider that they might have some culpability too? In their typically body obsessed worlds the women usually make statements like "yes, she was a bit heavy, but....". I doubt that this is real reason that the split occurred. Are these guys so looks oriented that they are willing to split their net assets and totally disrupt their worlds just to be with a thinner women?

There are a lot of reasons why marriages stop working--and regardless of the cause, the net result is that straying from the marriage is a a lot more likely. In the absence of a strong commitment to fidelity is it all that surprising that some wander away from their marriages?

Then, for a moment I stood aside and considered the conversation going on in my head. In spite of probable provocations was this man's action justified? Never! It is Satan's oldest trick (Genesis chapter 3:5), to suggest that we are somehow missing out--that the restrictions placed on us by God in our lives are artificial, or heaven-forbid unfair. A sin may be more tempting to one person than another due to circumstances or even genetics, but that doesn't stop the fact that it is sin, it is optional, and its result is death. The response to our frustration as men should not be to go outside the boundaries, but rather to move towards our relationships--putting aside our frustrations, opening up communication, and reminding ourselves that death awaits outside the gates.


VirusHead said...

I doubt that there is much difference between men and women in the insatiability of basic longing - the grass seems greener, I think, about equally.

I also think that as far as motivations and behaviors there is probably plenty of blame to go around.

Perhaps the biggest differences occur in terms of opportunity. Older men, esp those with status and/or money, can attract a wider range of women than older women can. Thus, when we see "the midlife crisis" guy, he's often with someone he finds more desirable (younger, sexier) - and he's with a women that finds him to be more desirable (richer, more distinguished). Add to that the general immaturity of many American men...yeah, I know, there are a lot of exceptions, and plenty of self-centered immature women too.

Beyond any demographical generalizations - I've always felt that you never really know the dynamic of a love relationship from the outside. Even when things look bad for one side or another... I think it takes two to build, and it usually takes two to destroy. Not always, but usually.

I've always had the most admiration for women who could attract any man - but chose to be faithful. And men who had lots of opportunities - and politely refused them.

Not because they felt constricted by an authority outside themselves, but because they had created such a lovely friendship and passion between themselves that no-one else could really threaten it.

Vance said...

Heidi, I think you captured a key point with your last paragraph. The best relationships are not the stable ones, but rather the ones that are continually moving towards each other. Creatively doing this over the long haul is a challenge.