The other morning I was driving from my office in Ames, Iowa to my office in Urbandale, Iowa, about 40 miles away. Once in awhile on these trips I’ll call and chat with my son Brandon. He’s a grad student in Omaha and studies most mornings, so sometimes I can catch him for a few minutes. He asked what was up.
I said, “Well, I just had an 8 o’clock affair case followed by another one at 9, and now I’m driving to Urbandale and I’ve got another affair case at 11, and then I think I may have a couple more later in the day.”
My wife told me to make sure that I am positive in these blog articles. Really, I’m trying. Unfortunately, the people that come to see me aren’t exactly having great things happening to them. I see the occasional newlywed couple or engaged couple that is coming to marriage therapy to make sure they have a solid foundation in their marriage, but bad news is an occupational hazard. And, if you haven’t figured out by now, I work my way through the 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs in the Bible, reading the chapter that corresponds to the day of the month (See the Proverb above: Today’s the 19th of March. I won’t post this blog today. I sit on these a couple of weeks so I can reread it fresh and make some edits before I post it.). I then choose one of the Proverbs from that chapter to comment on for this blog. Proverbs contrasts good and evil a lot. Given my state of mind from hearing painful stories all day, it would be easy for this blog to grovel in the gutter. Actually, I’m reading Proverbs for a little reality check. Reality includes evil. And it includes good. Somehow I have to deal with both in my personal life and in my work. Hopefully, I’ll have a balance of both in my blog.
Take this verse above in light of a ton of affair cases. Let me paraphrase it for you with an affair in mind:
A man who has an affair
will likely have a ton of excuses.
His life will suck,
And he will be mad at everyone to boot,
In writing that, I realize how inept I am at condensing truth into pithy sayings. King Solomon does a much better job. But he was the world’s richest man and had time to ponder the wisdom of the ages. I’m just a meager therapist trying to eek out a living.
If you make a black and white statement about evil you’re going to get exceptions. The evil is always wrong. But the person doing it may come to his senses. Proverbs helps us out here. Consider the same chapter (19) a few verses down the page:
Listen to advice and accept instruction,
and in the end you will be wise.
This is what makes my job, not just bearable, but rewarding. Most of the people who come to see me are realizing that they wanting another point of view. The way they looked at things hasn’t helped. The choices they made have led to more problems. It’s occurred to them that maybe it’s not everyone else’s fault. Maybe I should do something here to put my life on a better track.
So, really, there’s at least two responses a person having an affair may have: This was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, or, this affair business is fine; it’s everyone else who’s judgmental. Maybe it’s a continuum, good and bad, pros and cons, both, more good than bad, more bad than good, depending on the individual. No doubt. If you allow your soul to consider an affair and you allow your body and soul to do an affair and you’ve found a way to convince yourself that, at least in your situation, an affair is fine, at least until reality sets in, then we can assume there’s going to be some other confusion going on in your heart? Am I being too judgmental here? Only if it’s wrong to assume that an affair is wrong. If you are convinced it is right, the verse at the top of this blog says your life will be in chaos and you’ll be giving your finger, instead of your heart, to God.
Or, you can learn from your mistakes and take a little wisdom home and turn your life around and find peace and forgiveness and a new start and a little solace and restitution and reconciliation and relationships will be mended and your life can be whole again and in the end you will be wise.
That’s why I do what I do: Not to hear some self-deluded dude justify his affair. But to see hearts mended, light bulbs go on, lives changed, hope restored, evil vanquished and the dragons slain.