As a way to continue the conversations in The Biola Hour, we've invited Sam Gassaway to blog her thoughts after each episode. This is a response to Episode 25 on Calling in the Marketplace, found here. Feel free to interact with Sam's thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter (@sgkay47).
The sixth commandment is to refrain from cheating. This, of course, was quickly forgotten and circumvented by His people.
“Who are you to say I can’t please myself with any attractive person I see?” I can almost hear the people of the mighty exodus saying. “Okay, I guess, but what if I call all of them my wife?” Interestingly, it was a very, very one-way street. I do not hear them saying many husbands.
Adultery is a man problem. So is violence and abuse. Crime statistics based on gender are staggering. But that’s not what this is about. This is about the sixth.
Phillip Chang, CEO of Yogurtland, spoke at the Biola Hour last week. While answering a question about ethical means of business, Chang listed three things every person in business deals with.
The first was gold. The endless pursuit of the material, he said, can cripple even the strongest without the strength and humility of God within you.
The second was glory. Setting your fame and accomplishments for all to see results inevitably in those being taken from you—judgment is doubly as harsh for those who claim belief in Christ.
And third, finally, was girls.
“No,” you say. “Girls are neutral human beings, equal in every way to boys, there is no way we can put them in the same category of temptation for unethical behavior as gold and glory, right?”
For the most part, you’re completely right, dear reader.
However, I think Chang touched on a very important element of the more privileged aspects of society as a whole.
Men who have power, in general, abuse it. And in addition to ruining their own lives by not caring for their souls (pursuing gold) and ruining their relationships (seeking glory), they reach beyond the sphere to bring others down with them.
“But this doesn’t happen in the church! That is just in secular businesses!” you protest.
Adultery and sexual manipulation run rampant in the church more than almost anywhere else. When your salvation is on the line, fear leads to unhealthy submission which leads to dire action. For instance, when thousands of altar boys were sexually abused by Catholic priests in the U.S., uncovered in the 1990s by a series of books and in 2002 by the Boston Globe, many were told their abuse was justified by the position of the abuser.
The church has to respond. Beyond denouncing cheating on the grounds of the sixth commandment—because for some reason the direct commandments of God aren’t enough—the church has to emphasize how much damage cheating does to your soul and the soul of the person who trusted you.
So yes, for metaphorical and alliteration purposes, girls are the third temptation for men in power. In other words: cheating on your spouse because you have enough manipulative power to win people over is just as tempting as material wealth and personal fame.
The point is that this is not restricted to spheres outside the church. Temptations exist wherever Christians exist. As Chang so articulately conveyed, “I am first and always a Christian. I just so happen to be in business.”