My son, keep your father’s commands…
Bind them on your heart forever…
keeping you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife.
Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes,
for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread,
and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
Proverbs 6: 20-21, 24-26
Our Proverb for today is a little longer. I linked a few related strands. If you read Proverbs chapters 4-6 you will see that the setting is a father’s advice to his son and that one of the major themes is staying away like the plague from sex outside of the protection of marriage. He also gives advice to stay out of debt, to not be lazy, staying away from friends who are a bad influence, and to stay away from the BIG SIX: lying, pride, violence, planning evil in your heart (OUCH!), being quick to do evil, a false witness, and causing dissension. I guess there’s seven. Sorry. Proverbs is funny that way. He’ll say there’s 3 things that…and then he changes his mind and says, no 4. It’s poetic license. Maybe there is six: he mentions lying twice. He mentions planning evil as one and doing evil as another. I suppose those are different. Probably if you didn’t plan evil you wouldn’t do it. I look at the list of the BIG SIX and I think, with my 4 kids, that, as a father, I told them not to do all the things on the list, but I don’t remember telling them not plan to do evil. I remember spanking them once in awhile for doing evil. Maybe we should have had a few talks about planning evil!
But my point from linking the above verses together is the notion that dad’s advice, (in this context, King Solomon), to his son (not sure which one. He had a ton.) was to keep dad’s advice forever. I presume that means at least as long as you live. And then he talks about avoiding an adulterous woman. As I’ve said in an earlier blog, I’ve read Proverbs daily (there’s 31 chapters; it’s easy to read a chapter corresponding to the day of the month) off and on my whole life. I started around age 19. It’s been a faithful companion. But is it still all relevant? Do I need advice to stay away from affairs and prostitutes and illicit sex or pride and lying and planning or doing evil or being a busy body when I’m 57? Or 72? Or 85 for that matter? I’m guessing I’ll never grow too old for a sound kick in the pants.
Hang in there with me. I’m getting to my point: I deal with affair cases frequently in my work and, curiously, affairs have no age barrier. Don’t be too proud for this warning, buddy. I kid you not: I’ve had several cases of wives feeling violated by their husband’s wandering eyes and flirtatious mouths in their retirement community. I’ve also had men of retirement age still struggling with pornography and chatting with other women on dating sites, several for whom it led to criminal behavior. Dang. How’d you like that from your grandpa? In my counseling practice sexual indiscretions from females have stopped around the early 50’s. That’s not to say women struggle less in the later years. Maybe they are more discrete? In any case, the women who shared with me their hurt around their husbands’ dinking around it the retirement community certainly saw these other women are real threats and their husbands’ actions are real violations. I agreed with them.
Please don’t laugh. I certainly didn’t write this as a joke. Temptation is real at any age. We are always vulnerable. You need to be on your guard. Integrity is needed at every age. I’m of the opinion anyone can have an affair…or worse. This kind of advice never goes out of style.
Lord, protect me from being an Ol’ Geezer. Dang.