Just when you feel you’re safe and drop your guard, on comes the attack. You evaded internet usage in an uncontrolled environment. You successfully avoided any late-night television viewing by remaining in your bed when insomnia hit. But you slipped anyways. Perhaps it was a glance from an attractive co-worker. Or a lingerie advertisement addressed to your wife landed in your hands, and it got your gears turning. An image manifested itself in your head, and your next available moment alone turned into an internet click-festival, in attempts recreate the fantasy you were brewing up. Your wife wasn’t likely to find out because you weren’t likely to surrender the details of your alone time.
She knows all about your sex drive; she’s not ignorant to the fact that you’re down for the “cause” pretty much every day, as long as she’s available and willing. Is she under the impression that you wait for her availability in-between planned or spontaneous intimacy? If she knows you well enough, she’s not fooling herself into believing wholeheartedly that you’re faithful to her in mind, body, and spirit, just because you made vows. She knows you masturbate; she just doesn’t talk about it, and neither do you. Until you get caught. You forgot to refresh your web browser and never erased your history. You overlooked the fact that Netflix keeps a cache of previously viewed movies, and even starts a new cache of recommended movies based on your viewing patterns. Perhaps you pleasured yourself while taking your evening shower, but upon entering the bedroom you realized your wife lit the candles and turned on the Sade. Problem is, you don’t take Cialis, and a stellar performance isn’t a likelihood, considering you just emptied your clip into the shower drain. What could have been a memorable, intimate moment turned into an apology and a disappointing evening.
As an artist, there are unique circumstances that can lead to complete and total failure. When I travel, I often neglect our accountability. From time to time, despite my best efforts to set a tone of humility and honor from the stage, along comes a girl that flirts with my boundaries. Perhaps she inquires about my relationship. And my hotel. Then a phone number appears next to her name on my email contact list. I’ve always successfully retreated, but that doesn’t make me any less despicable for allowing my ego receive a little boost from the interaction. What if I did wander into that forbidden territory? Would I wake up and try to justify my actions by insisting that the “unique” pressures of my life justified a fling? Would I return home and attempt to fall back in line with my wife and daughters? Would I lie to my accountability partners?
Artist or not, we are all susceptible to such indiscretions. In God’s eyes, an affair is an affair, whether in the arms of another woman, or simply the anonymous one on the screen. Our attitude has to stretch beyond mere avoidance, and graduate to vigilance. If our brother stumbles, we cannot simply encourage him with a reminder of Christ’s grace and mercy. I say we need to get angry. I recall one long car ride with a close friend a couple of years ago. In the morning early hours, I began to confess some struggles and stumbles that transpired the previous week. He’d heard it from me before. Over and over and over again. I expected his usual “pep talk,” but this time he went off on me. At five in the morning, I took a swift butt-kicking from this dude, as he expressed his disdain, disappointment, and overall reluctance to continue “enabling” me in my weakness. And it worked. I knew that the next time we talked, he would ask how I’ve been “doing,” and I’d better bring a good report.
I say we climb above and beyond the exterior appearances of our circumstances. So what if we compromise the integrity of our “ministry.” You know, the one from the stage or the pulpit or whatever. The ministry we arrogantly place on a pedestal, as our “relationship” with God continues to serve us, as a means to a way. The “ministry” that ultimately feeds our families and runs the risk of replacing our identity in Christ. God doesn’t need it, nor is it nearly as important to Him as we make it out to be. I’m under the impression that God is exponentially more concerned with our hearts and our diligence. If our first preoccupation in our unfaithfulness is the crumbling of the tower we’ve built, then we have some reorganizing of priorities that needs to transpire. I’m convinced that God is more interested in our repentance. Our true repentance, not the public picking-up-of-the-pieces to salvage as much of our “ministry” as possible for the sake of our reputation and livelihood. Let’s hand it over and let’s be honest. We struggle with lust. Graciously, we are created in His image; therefore we are built for more than this. Let’s man-up and stop making excuses.
Find out more about Bobby Bishop.