photo by ewen & donabel
I’ve been running a series about how to teach the Ten Commandments to your children. We’re going to spend a little bit of time looking at each commandment individually.
The seventh commandment, You shall not commit adultery, has been redefined by today’s culture. No one seems to have a problem finding wrong with a marital partner who cheats on his or her spouse, although there used to be a time when that was called freedom. Fortunately, although not necessarily practiced, marital fidelity is back in vogue.
Here’s the thing, though. Adultery is not defined by the confines of marriage, it’s defined by its standard. Our children need to understand this before they hit their formative teen years. Premarital sex and cohabitation is adultery.
Would it surprise you to know that the majority of Christians don’t think this is so? According to Barna research, two-thirds of born again Christians in their twenties to thirties see couples living together outside of marriage as morally acceptable, and more than half think premarital sex is fine.
That tells me that not only has adultery been redefined, somewhere along the line the true meaning of the Ten Commandments wasn’t taught to these twenty and thirty somethings.
What did Jesus say about it?
In Matthew 5:27-28 He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So, let’s get this straight. If thinking lustful thoughts is the same as committing adultery, then acting on those same thoughts most definitely falls in the same category. Therefore, the definition of adultery is any sexual activity outside the sanctity of marriage.
What we teach our children, then, needs to be twofold:
- What the seventh commandment actually means;
- And that intimate relations need to be saved for the marriage bed.
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