“This is everyday life. It happens.”
Those are the words of former all-pro NFL running back Eddie George, commenting to NBC’s Lester Holt this week on the extramarital affair and subsequent murder of his onetime teammate Steve McNair.
Mr. Holt added that many husbands, seeing the McNair story unfold in the headlines, were surely saying to themselves, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
I have no doubt that he’s right.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us that “there is nothing new under the sun” (NKJV), and certainly men have been falling for “the other woman” since soon after the original fall. But it seems that there is an increase in this problem in modern times. From politicians to pastors, we have seen a disturbing number of men in the spotlight because they could not stay true to their marital promises. In the aftermath, we see the wives and children of these men left to face the humiliation that the husband’s fleeting tryst brought about.
Infidelity is something that can happen to any man who is not constantly on guard to prevent it from happening. There is no place for carelessness when our wives, our children and our Christian testimonies are at stake. For the Christian, being on guard also means being constantly attuned to the faultless God who lives within us, allowing Him to be our strength against any temptation we might face.
Further, as Christians, we must allow God’s love to shine in us so that we can effectively love our wives and families. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.'” By experiencing the matchless love that God affords us, we can then properly love in return.
In 2005, my father brought a sermon titled, “Faith, Family and Traditions,” wherein he listed five “daily duties” of a successful Christian father. They are:
- He must openly and obviously love his children’s mother;
- He must have a personal and intimate relationship with his children;
- He must build self-worth in his children;
- He must encourage vision, hope and purity. He must be verbal and positive;
- He must guarantee perpetual endowment.
This is such a pertinent inventory for Christian men who desire to be a godly leader at home while remaining true to the promises they made to their wife on their wedding day. Note that these five items should be at the forefront of our efforts on a daily basis; they should be atop our list of priorities without fail. I can personally attest – as can my brother and my sister – that my dad lived out this list every day of his life, and by doing so he inspires all three of us to do the same today.
I fear that too many men are playing a hope-for-the-best game with their families. There just doesn’t seem to be a commitment to their families beyond the superficial. This is a dangerous routine, and I see the consequences of this type of lifestyle on a regular basis. I imagine most pastors could bear out this scenario.
Christian husbands, we must be persistently investing ourselves into the lives of our families, while also spending much time in prayer, Bible study and positive Christian fellowship in order to strengthen ourselves in this essential effort. It is the role God intends for us to take on heroically for the sake of our families. Failing to do so should not be an option.
I want to close by pointing out that most people who come to Christ do so before the age of 18, with many of them doing so in the home. Christian fathers (and mothers), honor God in all you do so that your children will see the Spirit of Jesus Christ as a living example through your lives.