Adultery of the heart is a concept probably best known through the Bible. This idea is used to refer to the act of having an affair – or of simply being attracted to someone other than one’s partner. Most people take adultery of the heart far more seriously than other forms of infidelity, as it can come from a place of intent and deliberate thought.
What does the Bible say about Adultery of the Heart
According to the Bible, the idea of adultery of the heart is divided into two aspects – one draws upon the use of physical components, and the other bares spiritual implications. In the book of Leviticus, it is written, ‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God’. This passage emphasises the importance of faithfulness, and the need to be committed to one’s partner – or else it would be a form of offering them up to a false form of worship.
In the Old Testament, we can also find specific prohibitions against adultery in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. In Leviticus 20:10, the Lord encourages, ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife – with the wife of his neighbour – both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.’ This passage shows that adultery was thought of as an extremely serious transgression.
Meanwhile, in the New Testament, there is further support for the idea of avoiding adultery of the heart. Jesus encourages his followers to ‘notice the log in our brother’s eye’, before attempting to remove the splinter in our own. This teaches us that it is important to focus on moral growth within ourselves, rather than becoming too fixated on the indiscretions of others.
More significantly, in the book of Matthew Jesus also implores us to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. This message provides clear guidance towards cultivating a relationship with our partners which is based on love, commitment and trust. It also promotes careful consideration of our innermost emotions and desires, by stressing the importance of avoiding temptations.
Ultimately, the Bible is keen to teach us the significance of avoiding adultery of the heart. Through the use of physical prohibitions, spiritual guidance and moral recommendations, the Bible firmly opposes these types of actions which could potentially corrupt a relationship. It is clear that such temptations could be damaging to relationships, not to mention potentially dangerous to our own personal faith.
The Bible also reiterates the importance of personal integrity, and of respecting the commitments we have made. By being honest with ourselves and our partners regarding our innermost desires, we can strengthen and enrich the bond between us. This ensures that we can remain true to both our partner and our faith. When we value and honour our commitments, this ensures that no-one will feel betrayed or taken advantaged of.
According to the Bible, having an affair with someone other than our partner is as much a form of betrayal as any physical action. When we succumb to temptation – either in our thoughts or our deeds – this can do great harm to our relationships. By maintaining personal integrity, we can ensure that we remain faithful to our partners both physically, and spiritually.
When we allow our hearts to stray and become vulnerable to desires foreign to our relationships, we can create a chasm between ourselves and our partners. The Bible recognises this danger, and it is keen to warn us of the potential devastation such thoughts could bring. As Jesus tells us, ‘if your (his) right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away’.
The Power Within
The Bible teaches us that we must take responsibility for our own actions and resist negative desires. Controlling our temptations and avoiding negative thoughts is an important part of maintaining a faith-based relationship. We must be able to resist the urge to fall into our natural instincts and instead channel our energies into building a positive and trusting relationship.
Adultery of the heart is one of the most difficult transgressions to grapple with, as there is no clear and obvious violation to confront. Our thoughts are so tangled up in ourselves that trying to separate them from our relationships can be very difficult. As the Bible encourages us, we must strive to be aware of our own intentions and resist temptation at all times, as this ensures our relationships will remain nourished and strong.
A Question of Values
Though the Bible does clearly warn of the dangers of straying from our commitments, the idea of willpower and control of our innermost thoughts is also emphasised. By striving to be aware of our expectations and personal desires, we can ensure that we remain true to our relationship. The Bible wants us to approach relationships with an open, honest mindset – with the primary aim of pursuing closeness and trust with our partners.
Another Biblical message which implores us to remain firm in our relationships is found in Proverbs. It says, ‘Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.’ This passage warns us against the dangers of straying from our commitments, and of treating relationships carelessly.
Ultimately, the Bible makes it very clear that adultery of the heart in all its forms is very much a sin against God and Ourselves. We must remain aware of our own desires and strive to remain true and committed to our partner. When we keep our temptations at bay, this allows us to build strong and lasting relationships which can bring us closer to both our partners and our faith.
Forgiveness and Acceptance
Apart from physical and spiritual warnings, the Bible emphasises the need for forgiveness and acceptance, should we ever succumb to temptation. The Bible asks us to show mercy and kindness to those who wrong us, and to forgive them for their indiscretions. This allows us to focus on improving our relationships, rather than futilely attempting to wallow in past mistakes.
Though it may seem difficult at times, we must strive to stay patient and understand our partner’s needs. We must remember that it takes two to form a relationship, and that we are all allowed to make mistakes. Only through understanding and forgiveness can we move forward and foster strength within our relationships.
The Bible does not shy away from warning us of the dangers of adultery of the heart. However, it does allow us to make mistakes, emphasising the need for understanding, and supporting us in our efforts to build strong and trusting relationships. Ultimately, the Bible strongly encourages us to be faithful, both to our partners and ourselves, by avoiding temptations and nurturing our affection for one another.
Our Collective Strength
In addition, the Bible encourages us to be thankful for and nurture our relationships, reminding us that our collective strength is far more powerful than our individual desires. It calls on us to treat our partners with respect, and to stay aware of our own personal needs. In this way, we can ensure that our relationships remain firm and true.
The Bible encourages us to ‘seek wise counsel’ if we should ever find ourselves in a situation where our thoughts become unfaithful. By seeking advice and guidance, we can ensure that our feelings and intentions are genuine, and that our thoughts remain within the bounds of our own relationship. This allows us to nurture our connections to both our partners and our faith.
It is also important to seek support from other sources, such as friends and family. Others can provide objective guidance which can help us in difficult times, and remind us of the importance of firm commitments. Being honest both with our partners and those close to us is often the best way to move forward.
Finally, the Bible also supports us with positive words which remind us of our own capacity for both understanding and mercy. Jesus encourages us, ‘Love each other’, and to ‘love your neighbours as yourself’. This reminds us that we – both individually and collectively – are always capable of acts of love, kindness and charity. By adhering to these messages, we can ensure that we remain committed to our relationships, and true to our faith.
A husband of one wife, father of two beautiful girls, laborer of Lord, Jesus Christ, and a servant to God’s His saints. I hope to encourage you by God’s grace. Thank you for stopping by.