Caught Unawares

Temptation to look outside your relationship can sneak up on you—even in the best marriages.

This is how it sneaks up on you. I'm driving to work this morning, listening to sports talk radio, when suddenly they're interviewing a female athlete who's on the cover of Playboy.

And the thoughts start to take over. In 15 minutes I'll be sitting in my office, with internet access, and no one else around for an hour or two. Within seconds, I could be looking at those photos on any one of a thousand websites. No one would know.

What 20- 30- or 40-something straight guy, Christian or not, isn't attracted to images like that? I dearly love my wife and would never think of straying. What harm is there in looking? Isn't that what they just said on the radio? Isn't that a perfectly normal, harmless thing for any guy? Isn't that the message I get bombarded with every day?

As that radio conversation played out and my mind wandered far from the road, I rationalized why I was going to take a look. Hey, it's news, right? As a journalist, aren't I supposed to know what's going on in pop culture? It's not like I'm a porn addict. Just curious. Wouldn't it be okay just to take a quick look, satisfy that curiosity, and be done with it? Kind of like opening a pressure valve?

It's difficult to pray when you're on the verge of giving in to a powerful temptation. I don't want to disappoint God—pray for help and then blow it 20 minutes later. It's a lot easier just to turn my back on God for a while. I already know I'm going to blow it, so I'll just tune out, do what I'm going to do, let some time pass, and then talk to him again when I'm ready to ask forgiveness. The sins vary, but the pattern has played out before. I hate it.

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