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November of 1976. Jimmy Carter told an interviewer (from Playboy, no less), "Christ said, 'I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery.' I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times.".

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November of 1976


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november of 1976
November of 1976
  • Jimmy Carter told an interviewer (from Playboy, no less),

"Christ said, 'I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery.'

I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times."

mental adultery

MENTAL ADULTERY

Matthew 5:28

scenario
SCENARIO
  • You are studying with someone…
  • You find out that the person is divorced for _______.
  • Later, as you study Matthew 19, they come across the divinely allowed reason for divorce.
  • While in Matthew 5, you come to verse 28.
  • AHA! A loophole! Mental Adultery! Yes! That’s what my spouse did.
question
QUESTION?
  • Does Matthew 5:28 give someone the right to divorce their spouse for “Mental Adultery”?
  • Does it justify divorcing a mate for the thoughts of the heart?
question1
QUESTION?
  • Does Matthew 5:28 give someone the right to divorce their spouse for “Mental Adultery”?
  • Does it justify divorcing a mate for the thoughts of the heart?
  • If not, then what IS God saying here?
matthew 5 27 28
MATTHEW 5:27-28
  • 27"You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY';
  • 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
let us consider
LET US CONSIDER:
  • WILLFUL INTENT – “Looks upon a woman to lust…” is more than a moment’s notice or a curious look. It refers to willful intent and purpose. A decision.
let us consider1
LET US CONSIDER:
  • WILLFUL INTENT – “Looks upon a woman to lust…” is more than a moment’s notice or a curious look. It refers to willful intent and purpose. A decision.
  • AN ACTUAL ACT – You cannot divorce someone for what you presume or think they are doing. No matter how convinced you may be, there must be proof. Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16
let us consider2
LET US CONSIDER:
  • GOD’S PURPOSE – is to preserve marriage, not to give us a loophole to get out of an otherwise unhappy or undesirable relationship. Just as God can see your spouse’s heart, He can see yours. 1 Samuel 16:7; Hebrews 4:12
let us consider3
LET US CONSIDER:
  • MENTAL MURDER? – v21-22 have a parallel style. Cf. 1 John 3:15. Do these passages justify capital punishment for people who commit “Mental Murder”? Difference in consequences-no actual death, cohabiting.
let us consider4
LET US CONSIDER:
  • MENTAL MURDER? – v21-22 have a parallel style. Cf. 1 John 3:15. Do these passages justify capital punishment for people who commit “Mental Murder”? Difference in consequences-no actual death, cohabiting.
  • FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD – James 4:4 says that these are adulteresses. Can I divorce my spouse for engaging in the worldly activities he had just listed?
let us consider5
LET US CONSIDER:
  • CONTEXT – The discussion here is not about divorce or its remedies, but rather, about the character of a Christian.
let us consider6
LET US CONSIDER:
  • CONTEXT – The discussion here is not about divorce or its remedies, but rather, about the character of a Christian.
    • Beatitudes
    • Salt, light
    • Respect for God’s word
    • A higher standard – anger, lust, oaths
    • Love
let us consider7
LET US CONSIDER:
  • “IN THE HEART…” – thoughts defined by an action, not vice versa. Jews understood the phrase.
let us consider8
LET US CONSIDER:
  • “IN THE HEART…” – thoughts defined by an action, not vice versa. Jews understood the phrase.
    • Genesis 17:17-Abraham doesn’t utter the words
    • Psalm 55:21-Smooth words, but desire is hostile
    • Jeremiah 9:26-Israel rejected God
    • Phrases: “You’re in my heart”, funeral in his heart”, etc.
conclusion
CONCLUSION
  • To use this passage to justify a divorce is to twist Scripture. Notice 2 Peter 3:15-16
  • The real lesson is that a citizen in God’s Kingdom will set good things in his heart, set a good example for others, and strive to keep evil far from his heart.
  • God will judge our hearts as well as our actions - even if no one else knows.