Leaving the bar, I checked my watch. It was almost 3:00am and I needed to be at work in less than 4 hours. It was the third time this week I had failed to get home before two and a feeling of total exhaustion came over me as I fumbled with my keys to unlock the truck. As I opened the door I heard a voice say, “John, could your wait a minute please?” I turned to see the bartender locking the back door while looking at me expectantly. I let out a sigh and said, “Yeah sure,” in a nicer tone then I felt. I knew what was coming and I struggled with what I would do.
Angie was the night shift bartender at the Salt Lake City Utah private club where I drank regularly. We had been on friendly terms from the beginning. She often would sit with my partner Scott and I when she was on break. She had shared much about her life. Married with two kids. Her husband was in the Air Force and was often on assignment to bases in other states. That is where the problem started. About two weeks before she had invited me to her apartment after hours and our relationship had become sexual.
I had done many things in my life before but sleeping with another man’s wife was a new low even for me. After it had happened the first time, we had both thought it was a mistake and agreed that it should not happen again. But only two nights later I found myself waking up in her bed. And now she was standing outside my truck, what was I going to do?
I see now that when I lived a life control by addictions which led to a self-absorbed life style I found myself in situations that were, simply put, wrong. And even at the time they were happening I had a feeling of their wrongness, if it is even a word. But most times, I would allow the feelings or urges that were driving me to control what was going to happen and every time it would lead to another hurtful result for myself and the often others involved.
When I first started reading the Bible. I was amazed to see how often characters in many of the stories of the Old Testament were involved in some sort of sexual relationship that either led to their destruction or others. But in truth as I thought more about it I found that I should not be amazed because every time we find ourselves outside the laws of God morally, pain and hurt cannot be far behind.
It was as I began to study the New Testament that I understood that even as we are drawn to sexual sin that we can live a life of guilt free peace outside it’s painful results. The apostle Peter says this, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourself with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so live the rest of the time in flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties and lawless idolatry. (1 Peter 4:1-3). And on first reading this I thought, “What is he saying? Do I need to die physically to be rid of immoral sin?” But no, I believe it says that if Christ is our example and He was tempted in every way as we are. We can also arm ourselves in the same way He did by living the will of God, connected by a loving relationship through prayer and daily study in His word. It is there we can find freedom from sin sexual or otherwise.
I am sure some folks reading this will say the same thing I did not that long ago. Easier said than done. And you are right. It may not be an immediate transformation. I struggled with sexual issues even after I began my walk with God. But in the end, I found the more I trusted in His promises the more I was able to be free. Here is one I still claim every day, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” I learned to trust the God who made me and His son who died to save me. Today I have been blessed to be in a marriage relationship that sustains me in all ways, I am free of the temptations that burdened me for years. God is good!
Back in that parking lot I did succumb to that temptation and the relationship went on for two more months. When her husband finally caught on to what was happening, he threatened to kill both of us. It got so bad that I had to leave the area and take a job far from Salt Lake City. I do not know what happened to them or their children but today I pray for them as I do for all who struggle with sexual issues in their lives. I can truly say there is hope.