Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved! (St. Augustine of Hippo)
Praise be to the Lord Jesus who by the Holy Spirit leads us in all righteousness. We pray that we respect each other and be a blessing to each other in our walk with Christ. Remind us O Lord God, that we do not covet any person or things which is unlawful and will cause sorrow to others. Help us to abide by what is true love and not be deceived by the lust of the world. Amen and amen.
The Holy Scriptures do tell us not to covet. This includes not coveting another one’s spouse. And this is a warning about adultery as well.
And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Deuteronomy 5:21)
Read the following words of Jesus and you will notice that lustful covetousness is the same as adultery. The punishment for this is hell which is mentioned along with this.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30)
So this should make it abundantly clear that you are not to covet a spouse that is married to another. Do not be a seducer of married one’s. It’s a sin against the Lord God who wants marriage to be holy. By trying to entice a married person to commit fornication or even marry you is to be a cause for trouble for that person’s spouse, family and children. Never be so evil.
If you are not married and you say you want to get married, then do get married to someone who is not married like yourself. If you are not happy with your current marriage, then don’t ruin others happiness by stealing their spouse, keep your selfishness to yourself and deal with it.
I won’t stop at only holding individuals responsible to avoiding coveting another one’s spouse. Even the people in general and the state should get their act together. No group nor organization has a right to make money by corruption of society. Everyone who is a corrupter of humanity is cursed! I feel very sorry to see innocent spouse who was forced to divorce her unfaithful spouse. Her tears and her children’s tears are sorrowful and the society stupidly blames her for everything. At times there’s an unfaithful wife too and her innocent husband is manipulated into divorcing her. He then ends up more poor and with kids who in sorrow to look after. Indeed we live in an evil and adulterous generation!
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
There are plenty of idiots who promote adultery in various forms. Novels glorify the hero who can kill enemies but seduce their wives and daughters. Movies show that it’s cool to flirt with a woman who is not your wife. Then we have songs and their accompanying videos in which a foolish woman singer, yes foolish but exquisite in looks, goes on to sing about her sexuality and makes a lot of direct or indirect appeals to men to lust for her and so buy her music. Obviously, there are some male singers who also do something like that though with even more cunning appeal to beguile women to buy more of their music works. They don’t care if any person who was influenced by their works gets sexually transmitted diseases or gets a humiliating divorce. So I’m not surprised that when their ‘fans’ die in their sins, these very writers, actors, singers etc will shrug of responsibility and won’t even care that these people are now forever tormented in the fires of Hell.
Don’t think of this as a generation gap issue or being old-fashioned. Even in the past centuries such things did happen but were more limited as technology had yet to catch up. These things were even exposed in the past times. Let’s read what an early Christian theologian Augustine of Hippo (born in 345AD) had to say about this:
[Y]ou are not ashamed of your sin [in committing adultery] because so many men commit it. Man’s wickedness is now such that men are more ashamed of chastity than of lechery. Murderers, thieves, perjurers, false witnesses, plunderers and fraudsters are detested and hated by people generally, but whoever will sleep with his servant girl in brazen lechery is liked and admired for it, and people make light of the damage to his soul. And if any man has the nerve to say that he is chaste and faithful to his wife and this gets known, he is ashamed to mix with other men, whose behaviour is not like his, for they will mock him and despise him and say he’s not a real man; for man’s wickedness is now of such proportions that no one is considered a man unless he is overcome by lechery, while one who overcomes lechery and stays chaste is considered unmanly.”― Augustine of Hippo, Sermons 1-19
All those who promote adultery by calling it good are clear fools! Just because you are faithful to your wife doesn’t mean that you encourage your friend to keep going in his sin of adultery. Any man who entices his friend to seduce others for fun is not a true friend at all. This applies for women who keeping giving wrong ideas to their female friends to become habitual seducers of men. I’d say that it’s better for a woman to be friendless, that to have a friend male or female who teaches her such wickedness.
To conclude, to avoiding feelings of covetousness towards the spouses of others I suggest that you reflect on the following:
- On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense. (Proverbs 10:13)
- When adultery occurs, three of the Ten Commandments are broken: you shall not commit adultery, not lie, and not covet your neighbor’s spouse. – Dennis P. Hollinger, The Meaning of Sex
- He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. (Proverbs 6:32)
- Adultery is a disguised detour en route to your personal demise. – Paul Davis, Adultery: 101 Reasons Not to Cheat
One thing that our current generation of Christian lacks is having deep respect for our spiritual teachers. I consider those who teach us the principles of the Christian faith as spiritual teachers even if they do not claim any such status. Some of them rather use the term ‘workers in the Lord’s vineyard’ which is fine enough for me.
Back in the early centuries of Christianity it was difficult to gain access to teachers of the faith. This was because the Roman Empire heavily persecuted the preachers of the Gospel. Persecution by death to be precise! Yet time and again there arose teachers who risked their lives to help other Christians learn the teachings of our faith.
We have a lot to thank our Lord Jesus for the past teachers of the faith. Augustine of Hippo defended the Christian faith from pagan critics. Athanasius of Alexandria preached against the heresy of the Arians. St. Irenaeus gave canonical status to the gospels of Luke, Matthew, Mark and John which are now part of the Bible. Sometimes the teachers made Bible reading easier, for instance the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton who helped develop the concept of assigning the chapters and verses of the Bible for easier study.
Cut back to today’s world. Most of the teachings of our faith are available free on the internet and on TV as well. In some places you still get free Bibles and Christian literature without paying anything. Now some people equate ‘free’ with ‘low quality’. Yet these are the ones are among the first to complain if the teaching series is available by payment only. They have made their minds to blame a teacher of the faith if he gives out the teachings for free or at a cost. They will accuse such teachers of having hidden agendas. Double standards indeed!
People make fun of teachers who preach against silly divorces saying that these are still ‘stuck’ in the middle ages. But when these people themselves undergo a divorce they rush to these teachers to pray for ‘reconciliation’ with their spouses. And poor teacher simply forgives those who made fun of him and then helps the person facing the divorce issue. Now when the divorce is averted, what do such people do? They never apologize for making fun of the teacher but only keep hugging their reconciled spouse. Selfishness indeed when the only point of these people is their own happiness!
Then we have people who ridicule the preachers who remind us that Jesus gave us authority to cast out evils spirits. They will make jokes about such preachers though there are Bible verses to prove that we have authority to cast out demons. Then all of a sudden when their own kids get possessed and when medico-psychological help fails, they then sheepishly approach preachers who can exorcise. Again the preacher forgives them of their stupidity and simply goes on to help them out. Couldn’t have their read the Bible first before making fun of those who preach deliverance?
One of the people I hate the most are those who bully their preachers into preaching only what they want to hear. For instance, the people won’t put in donations if the preacher starts speaking about being a bright and responsible Christian at home, school and work. Yet if the preacher speaks loads of blessings without any responsibility then they will praise him to the clouds. Economic bullying in action, I’d say. While some people simply walk out on preachers who preach against wrong doing or having lack of faith in Jesus. They simply want to be validated about the state of sin they are living in. Surely such people will receive their reward from God for their disrespect.
One must always respect a teacher of the faith no matter how odd their methods seem. Even if you do not agree with them, you can speak politely to them. There’s always the Bible which you can reach for yourself to get the right idea on the Gospel topic that was preached to you. You still have your own choices to make because its your own soul that you are responsible for.