Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just a Holiday

I couldn't help myself. When a South Carolina newspaper said that they had copies of the E-mails from Mark Sanford's correspondence with a woman he's currently having an affair with, I broke down and had to read them. It was pretty standard fare for love letters: "I want you, I need you, you're so wonderful," and thankfully low on the eroticism. And the excitement of their tryst is amplified, of course, by the secrecy of it all.

There was one interesting tidbit that caught my eye that I'd like to share. Listen to what one of them says about their favorite movie:

was just going to find the movie The Holiday as we had spoken of it last Thursday. Its music was pleasant and made me think of you — its mood and the notion of a holiday (wrapped up in our case over two days) certainly fit as well ...

Do you remember this film? It's a movie about two women who switch places. One lives in cold, rainy England. And the other lives in warm, exciting Los Angeles. And when they change places, it sets them on a journey of rediscovery where I'm sure they find their true identity & fulfillment. Or, at least that's how I imagine it goes; I haven't seen it yet.

Anyway, I find it fascinating that two forbidden lovers would latch on to a story like that. "What we're doing here -- we're not ruining a marriage or scarring my four boys for life, or soiling an already struggling political party, or abandoning my duties as Governor, or letting down other Christians everywhere -- this is just... A HOLIDAY."

Satan is really impressive, isn't he? He is the spin-master extraordinaire. The notion that he can convince us of lies -- fixating us only on the fun, enjoyable parts of sin and not all the sad, devastating consequences. We swallow his bait & hook as if we're as ignorant as fish. Satan does his job well.

Whenever one of these stories pops up in the media (as with John Ensign recently, or John Edwards last summer, or Elliot Spitzer a few months before that), I take it as a personal reminder to shore up my own integrity in terms of sexual temptation. Here's what I wrote after the revelations about John Edwards last summer:

I think Edwards' misdeed, though, serves an even larger purpose as a reminder that sexual immorality is a seductive temptation for people who outwardly appear to have it all together. John Edwards had so much to lose, and yet he still chose to gamble all that away for the euphoric flattery of another woman & a few fleeting moments of sensual pleasure.

The older I get the more I realize how real & how insidious of a temptation this is. But look at how much John Edwards has lost. The next time you're tempted, I hope you're reminded of John Edwards. And I hope that a little ray of rationality can poke through the haze & fog of lust to remind you that there is too much to lose. Sex is just not worth THAT.

Satan would have us dwell on the glory of what a "Holiday" would be like. Do yourself a favor and medidate on what Mark Sanford's life is going to be like in the near future. A bitter, distrustful wife. Four boys that don't know how to act around their own father. He may perhaps lose his job. That's no Holiday. That's a catastrophe. A catastrophe that could have been avoided if he had made better choices.

Finally, I'll leave you with this. Mark Sanford wrote over & over how this woman had won his heart. He declared it was over for him; he was surrendering to the woman who had conquered his heart.

And that's how it happens -- you let those desires & that flattery take over, and it will reign over your heart. And if something rules your heart, it rules you. So guard your heart. Fortify your walls around it, and build them high; set boundaries, and keep to them. Make certain that you let into your heart only those things that are good and wholesome. Guard your heart. Above all else.

"Above all else, guard your heart,"
       for everything you do flows from it."

Proverbs 4:23 (TNIV)


Emily :) said...

Proverbs 4:23 is one of my favorite verses. I learned it in relation to dating and relationships, but I've realized how it applies in every area of life.

I thought it was interesting how you brought out "The Holiday" because I think it says something about the temptation a lot of us face. It may have nothing to do with infidelity or sexual immorality, but more to do with coveting a different lifestyle than what we have. Very interesting thoughts.

coffeedrinkingpreacher said...

right on, brother.

Joey T. said...

Well said.