Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent» (Proverbs 6:27-29)
David Birkenstock was my (J) main mentor in the administrative duties at the university where I used to work. The student body was, in general, exemplary: professional youth who did their best to obtain a masters or doctorate degree. Almost all had families and years of experience in the pastoral or educational ministry, or in health centers management. At some point, we had to face some problems caused by marital infidelity: family abandonment, couple crisis, confused children or outraged spouses
When this type of situation would occur in the university community, Dr. Birkenstock would soberly speak to the student body, warning us with more or less the following clear message: «Sometimes, we do things without thinking and, afterwards, we have to accept the consequences. Adultery entails very serious consequences. That’s why many do it secretly, thinking their infidelity will never come to light. But, if someone believes he can cheat on his wife without his actions being discovered, he is very mistaken because Satan will make sure that, sooner or later, the deceit is discovered and exposed.» Dr. Birkentstock knew that the devil could benefit from making the leaders and influential people of the church fail. Maybe this is part of what today’s verse means when it says that nobody is left unpunished if he touches his neighbor s wife.
Playing with temptation is like playing with fire. Tie wiser attitude is to abandon the path that leads to evil as soon as possible. Sexual desire is very powerful since it is an instinctive process, and it may be very difficult to stop once it reaches a certain point. So, we need to completely rely on the Lord who will help us to identify the temptation, before it becomes irresistible. He will also give us the wisdom not to put ourselves on the path that would definitely lead us to illegitimate sexual intercourse.
Lastly, when we place ourselves in God’s hands, the Lord will give us the strength to run away from our own trap, just like when Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph by his clothes, saying, «Lie with me. And he, leaving his clothes in her hands, ran out of the house (Gen. 39:12).