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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Addictions and Allergies
Date Posted: October 21, 2018

Does anyone else think our world is addicted to lust and becoming allergic to God? (That's The Message's interpretation of 2Timothy 3:4,2 Peter 2:10).

It seems that Christianity is the only "religion" that it's okay to persecute. Jesus said that would happen, and it did to the Apostles, and it continued through to today. But perhaps some of it is Christians' fault. Now hear me out before you make a raspberry.

Jesus told us that the way the world would know Him was by how we love one another. The majority of true believers exhibit that love, kindness, gentleness, self-control, the majority of the time. That isn't newsworthy, of course, except in Heaven one day.

However, in the newspaper industry--if it bleeds, it leads. If it is unusual, quirky, frightening, or scandelous, it leads. That's why everyone knows who Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, and Jimmy Swaggart are. Heart rending scandals racked the Christian world because these Christians had a worldly problem. All Christians have worldly problems because no, not one is sinless. Because these mens' problems became world news is because they were big name preachers and teachers of Scripture. They weren't supposed to act that way. Well, neither are we, the huddled masses of Christ's church.

Doing a simple Google of infidelity or signs of cheating brings up a heartbreaking number of hits. One woman explains the signs she noted that her boyfriend was cheating were detachment, secret phone calls and texts and then shares that she didn’t have these paranoid feelings with her ex-husband who was trustworthy and loving, and whom she left to be with this Mr. X. The light still didn’t go on for her, and she was still making excuses for Mr. X even though her instinct was telling her he was cheating. What's worse, she was cheating on her husband with Mr. X. Why should she expect any different treatment from Mr. X?

You get married, you look at the face of your beloved and there is so much love welling within you that you are certain nothing will cause you to unlove this person. Gary Chapman says these honeymoon feelings last about two years, and then reality begins to encroach. He leaves the toothpaste glob in the middle of the sink (27% of us do that). She puts rollers in her hair just this one night because of an early whatever in the morning. He leaves a trail of clothes to the bed or the bathroom. She would rather eat out than cook. One morning you look at him over your coffee cup and suddenly wonder, “Who is that, and what has he done with the man I married?” One evening she’s bending over the dishwasher cleaning up the kitchen you just messed up by cooking dinner and you wonder, “Who is that woman who moved into my wife’s used to be shapely body?” The problem is most couples forget to talk about the botherations right away, and instead let them fester to the explosion stage. Couples will let the little irritants spoil the focus on the stuff that made love bloom. Why do we do this? Why do we allow Satan the power to churn up our anger into a furious froth of malevolent feeling that spills over scalding our loved ones--over and over again?

Detachment, picking fights about insignificant things, mysterious friends, deflecting simple questions, sudden interest in hygiene and appearence without the interest in you, secretive schedules, no interest in bedroom activities are all signs of retracting from the marriage. Not all signs happen at once, but one or two of them may indicate there is a problem of disengagement in the marriage, and you should take steps to dodge the ending of your marriage.

The point is to notice there is a problem and to do something about it while it is just steaming, not simmering and long before it comes to a boil. Notice things about yourself. A big tell-tale is if you are beginning to be dissatisfied with your marriage. Are there things you are doing that are perpetuating these feelings?

Scott Bea, PsyD says there are thought processes at work such as 1) increasingly interested in flirting, 2) sexual fantasies about another person, 3) dining alone with someone you are attracted to, 4) confiding in someone who you are attracted to, and this one hurts 5) a history of infidelity and a new opportunity to cheat.

Ways to avoid infidelity are simple, tried and true actions.

1.) Talk with your partner about everything. This is not the same as talking at someone sharing your opinions on everything from the country’s woes to global warming. Talk about the things you love about each other. Focus on those things. Don't let anything come to a boil. Talk about feelings, frustrations, and those little irritants as well.

2.) Stay intimate. Daniel Sapen, PhD says you should also make a point to “Kiss, massage, and keep those loving hands on each other: This works on basic biological levels to keep people literally wired to respond to one another, to anticipate each other's needs, to look to each other rather than new, unknown partners.” Finally,

3.) Avoid the infidelity traps. Being alone with someone whom you are attracted to is inviting trouble. As a couple, you do not have to build a wall isolating yourselves from the world. But, keeping God within the center of your relationship is much stronger glue than any wall. A three strand cord is not easily broken.

A classic example of what can go wrong is the story in 2 Samuel 13. David’s daughter, Tamar, is beautiful and his son Amnon is in love with his half-sister. Amnon is not very bright because his mind is clouded with lust. He listens to his cousin’s plan to get Tamar alone. He stepped into the lust trap by pretending to be sick and asking for Tamar to come serve him. That wasn’t so bad, but he ordered all the servants to leave, he ignored her pleas for him to ask for her hand in marriage, and her pleas for him to stop doing the disgraceful thing. After he finished, he hated her as much as he had loved her. Tamar did not get pregnant from the rape, but this single action caused a household uproar resulting in the death of two of David's sons. It all stemmed from David’s infidelity with Bathsheba. God had told him that he would know no family peace because of his sin. No matter what kind of strife or physical abuse or emotional abuse goes on within a marriage, it does not justify infidelity. One must first clean around one’s own doorstep. David didn't think twice before his lust took over his brain. If we are to glorify God, we can't make this mistake.

One of the major ways to avoid this kind of trap is to lay it before the LORD. He already knows your heart. If you truly want to please Him rather than yourself for a fleeting second, ask Him to help you. Ask Him to replace your faulty desires with His own desires. If you are serious, it works every time.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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