No Time For Hanky-Panky
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
* * * * *
“Prophet Malcolm, do you have a word from the Lord today?” Bishop Akron greeted his long-time mentor on one of their regular Sunday evening chats.
“I always have a word from the Lord, my brother,” Prophet Malcolm said. “And that word from the Lord today is, not only is homosexuality on the rise in churches, but hanky-panky is increasing also.”
“Hanky-Panky?” Bishop Akron said. “Now, what’s hanky-panky?”
Prophet Malcolm laughed. “That’s adultery, my brother.”
“I should have known,” Bishop Akron said with a chuckle.
“I preached hard against that sin today. Some did not like it. I told my congregation that adultery not only shows unfaithfulness to your spouse, but it shows unfaithfulness in every area of life, and, most importantly, unfaithfulness to God. You vowed to God to remain faithful to that one wife or to that one husband until death do you part, then you break your vow, and you still expect God to bless you and all that you do. Folks, it don’t work that way.”
“What kind of response did you get from the people, Prophet?”
“God is working, son. On our church’s webpage there is one button for salvation decisions, one for general prayer requests, one for specific prayer and confession of sin based on the topic of the sermon preached, and one for counseling with the pastor. One of the church staff members reported that the confession button kept lighting up. One couple came to talk to me privately after they heard the message online today—all gloved and masked up; they had been trying to handle the issue by themselves. But, of course, you have those people who are so full of pride, mad at me because I dared to step into their ‘business’. They want me to leave their skeletons in the closet. But I can’t. It is incumbent upon me to preach against all sin because when I stand before God, I do not want any man or woman’s blood dripping from my hands.”
Prophet Malcolm cleared his throat then continued speaking. “We’ve been fasting and praying this past week so I believe God is cleaning house, and I want Him to do a thorough cleaning—not just feather dusting but a cleaning that digs deep down and gets all the dirt and grime out of every crevice and corner in our lives.”
“I hear you,” Bishop Akron said.
“The funny thing about this is, we are all up in arms about the sin of homosexuality, but it seems like no one is touching the ‘acceptable sin’ of adultery in the church. That’s a shame. The Bible says that God hates adultery. He hates putting away as it is called in Malachi. Now committing adultery is one thing, but living in adultery is another thing. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many Christians are living in adultery.”
“What’s the difference?” Bishop Akron asked. “And why do you call it acceptable?”
“I call it ‘acceptable’ because no one is saying anything about it. Preachers are not preaching hard against adultery as they should, in part because some are not only committing this sin, but some are living in it. We know folks within the church are committing adultery, yet no one is saying anything about it. Folks have accepted it as, well, part of life.”
“To answer your first question: Committing adultery is when a married person goes out and has sex with a woman or man he or she is not married to. It can be a one-time thing or it can happen more than once,” Prophet Malcolm said. “God does not like that, but I believe He will show more mercy to one who commits the sin of adultery than He will to the person who is actually living in adultery on a daily basis. Living in adultery is when a man or woman divorces his first wife or her first husband without just cause according to scripture and remarries. The remarried spouse is now living in adultery and so is the person he or she gets married to whether or not that person was married before. And if both divorced spouses remarried now we have four people living in adultery. This is the result of divorce and that is why God hates divorce.”
Bishop Akron swallowed hard.
“I got on those no-good sorry husbands who are always casting their eyes at other women—oftentimes strange women. We see this in the book of Proverbs chapter two where it reads, ‘to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words.’ How many men have been taken in by a woman’s flattering words? How many men have been taken in by a woman’s batting eyes? How many men have been taken in by a woman’s wiles? Too many to count. The Bible does say ‘the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.’”
“So it’s not only the men who are doing the hunting; some women have now taken over and are on the prowl by the way they dress, by the enticing words they use with men, by the way they look at us. Isn’t that right?” Bishop Akron said.
“That’s right. And that is why so many prominent preachers and church leaders are falling by the wayside and are out of the ministry due to sexual scandal even as I am speaking,” Prophet Malcolm said. “The adulteress will hunt for the precious life. I was preaching a revival at this church and a beautiful young lady slipped a bit of paper in my hand when she shook my hand after the service. I thought it was some money so I stuck it in my pocket not wanting to look at it right then and there with people milling around. I had forgotten about it until I got to the hotel and was emptying out my pockets. It was a note and it read ‘I’ve often wondered what it would be like to do it with a preacher, especially a strong preacher like you. I’m available tonight and tomorrow night after services. Give me a call.’”
“What! You don’t say.”
“I just said it. I don’t know what it is with these women who want to have sex with a preacher man,” Prophet Malcolm said.
“They want the precious life,” Bishop Akron answered.
“That’s the only thing I can think. The preacher seems so spiritual when he’s in the pulpit they want to see if there is a down and dirty side to him. They want God’s man. You ever read that classic book The Scarlet Letter? Well, the author Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in The Scarlet Letter: ‘Oh, Hester.’ Hester is the woman who goes after the precious life; she goes after the innocent one. Anyway, Hawthorne goes on to say, ‘A man must be pure, just so that you can seduce him to a fall. Because the greatest thrill in life is to bring down the Sacred Saint with a flop into the mud.’ He says something else and then adds this, and I will never forget this line: ‘And then go home and dance a witch’s jig of triumph . . . and stand meek on the scaffold and fool the world.’”
“Wow! is all I can say,” Bishop Akron said.
“Yes. Wow! Why can’t we be like Job and make up our minds to not even look at a woman and risk being led away by her adulteress fore-play?”
“Did Job actually do that?” Bishop Akron said.
“Yes. It’s in the Bible. Hold on let me find it. I don’t want to misquote the Word of God.”
Bishop Akron could hear Prophet Malcolm turning the pages of his Bible.
“Here it is. Job chapter thirty-one verse one. This is Job speaking. He says, ‘I have made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?’ In other words, why am I even going to lust after a woman that I am not married to? What will it benefit me to do that,” Prophet Malcolm said.
Bishop Akron scribbled down the reference on a notepad.
“I stayed on the men and hounded them with words of wisdom from the book of Proverbs. I asked them the same question Solomon asked: ‘Why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?’ One of the guilty called me over the phone later and said, ‘Well, Preacher, those verses you quote from Proverbs about the strange woman is referring to prostitutes.’ I said ‘what makes you believe that?’ He said ‘because you meet a prostitute for the first and only time, have your fling with her, and you go on your merry way’. I said, ‘I beg to differ. Any woman who you are not married to is a strange woman as far as I am concerned. If you’re married and you have sex with a prostitute you are committing adultery. And if you are married and you have sex with your best friend’s spouse you are still committing adultery. So there you have it. He had no response.”
“You’re right. No one can refute that,” Bishop Akron said.
“Are you comfortable because I’m getting ready to read the Scripture passage I’m coming from?”
Bishop Akron took a deep breath. “Yes, I am. Go right ahead.”