He kept writing to me every couple of years. Each time, I hit the delete button.
When Facebook came along, he sent me friend requests until I blocked him. After all, he was married. I was married. And we had history. Truthfully, there was no temptation on my part to connect with him-the relationship we had years ago was one that I was exceedingly thankful that God spared me from pursuing further.
But then others came back into my life via Facebook too. Former boyfriends with whom I thought I would one day marry and share my life with. It seemed harmless.
Except, the Holy Spirit kept nudging my heart that this was not a good idea.
My husband and I would both say that perhaps our greatest area of strength is trust. I have no concern whatsoever that he would be unfaithful to me, and vice versa. That said, we have been through some excruciatingly painful times in our marriage where I wondered how we would hold on. God has been faithful to us through our trials and even when certain years seemed like our undoing, He carried us through and made us stronger.
What concerned me is that during those times of uncertainty when we were struggling, I started to wonder about those past relationships and although I knew that I was committed to my husband, the very thought of peering into their current lives seemed dangerous. So I listened.
I’m wondering about you. Do you think that just because you live far away from an ex or someone online that you have been chatting with, that you are secure?
My pastor recently said that “It is the sharing of souls that creates soul-mates.” Affairs are not only physical. They are also emotional. ANYTHING that comes between the oneness of body or heart between you and your spouse is counter to Scripture because you are no longer two, but one:
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:23-24
How can we tell if we are starting down a slippery slope or heading towards the cliff?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself with deep honesty:
1.) Is my marriage currently having difficulties?
2.) Do I sometimes think about what my exes or past flames are doing or if they ever still think about me?
3.) Have I reached out to them with the intention of receiving some form of flattery or affirmation?
4.) Do I check their Facebook pages on a regular basis?
5.) Am I doing this secretly and keeping it from my spouse?
6.) Would my spouse be upset if they knew I was connected to them or talking to them?
7.) Have I day-dreamed about what life with them would be like now instead of the one I am living with my spouse?
8.) Does the thought of unfriending my ex cause me emotional pain?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions or you feel a check in your spirit when you think about these questions, I would strongly caution you and urge you to let these people go-emotionally, relationally, physically, and mentally.
This may seem extreme for some of you, but the truth is that when you play with fire, you can expect to get burned. And your marriage won’t be the only relationship to suffer. Your children will be devastated. You will most likely lose friendships. In-law relationships will be damaged. In some cases, it will force you into or out of the workplace. One thing is certain. The illusion you have that this extramarital relationship is what you have been missing out on is simply that. An illusion.
It’s not worth it, ladies and gentlemen.
God warns us that our enemy is cunning and active. He says:
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Jesus makes a comparison in Mark, telling us to take our sin seriously-to the extent that it’s better to cut off our hands, feet, and pluck out our eyes if they cause us to sin:
If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:43
Those are strong words. Surely, we could also then say if your Facebook friendship with a former romantic interest causes you to stumble, you should cut it off too. Some of you need to hear it plainly: If you keep telling yourself that the communications are innocent, they probably are not.
God doesn’t mince words about adultery. Mark 5:28 says:
But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
What’s more important to you? Honoring your vows and putting a hedge of protection around your marriage and heart and your testimony as a Christian, or this online relationship?
Discipline yourself to use social media for good-it’s not about doing what is right because it’s easy. It’s about doing what is right because it honors God. As a Christ-follower, your happiness is not the ultimate goal. Following Jesus is the ultimate goal.
I’m thankful that my own marriage is stronger than it has ever been before, but it’s not by accident. Guy and I have spent the last 8 years building that trust with one another and no other relationship is worth jeopardizing our unity. It wasn’t worth it when things were tough, and it’s not worth it now.
Fanning an old flame will only create a wildfire that you can’t control. Go ahead. Unfreind that past boyfriend or girlfriend and focus on the one you vowed before God to love on your wedding day like I did. And in so doing, you will extinguish the possibility for disaster in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Unfriended equals protected, and that's an action worth taking every time.
YOUR TURN! Have you unfriended old flames like I have?