Todd Rundgren sings in FIDELITY from his 1989 album, Nearly Human:
“If it’s true love, it does not demand fidelity.”
What a troubling line! I’ve often heard women say, “I can tolerate anything from my husband, but if he ever had an affair, even once, I’d divorce him in a minute. That is something I won’t tolerate and he knows it.”
Rev. Malone Gilliam spoke in his sermon yesterday that we all have lines that can’t be crossed: sure, we want to be patient, but not if I’ve told you the same thing 100 times; we want to be generous to others, but not if you’re going to take something away from me that I’ve worked so hard for; and, I’ll love you, but only if you live up to my demands and expectations.
Rev. Gilliam said that he didn’t like the Rundgren lyrics for a long time, but now he has come to understand them: as humans we all have that line that when crossed, we withhold our love; it is only God who loves us without restraint or conditions. There is nothing that we can do to make God stop loving us.
Yesterday afternoon was a time for me to re-play Malone’s words and apply them in my own life. I’ve been on the receiving and giving end of affairs and there is no heartache like it. But making it the line in the sand that can’t be crossed is a human constraint. As much as we might dislike it, God forgives adulterers, too. What would the world be like if we showed “true love” and didn’t demand fidelity, just like God? Would it take the “thrill” away from an affair to know that we would be forgiven, no matter what?
I’m not advocating that spouses get a “free pass” to sleep with whomever they want and then return to their marriage as if nothing happened. But as we come to a more mature faith, it is less about playing by the rules and a fear of being punished, and more about wanting to please God.
When spouses both independently love God and want to please Him, an affair is out of the question. We don’t need to read Scripture or seek clergy counsel to know that God does not approve of affairs.
Do we truly love God and want to please Him? Then affairs are not a possibility.
Do I love as God loves, or do I put demands on people to earn and keep my love?