‘She’s A Terrible Wife!’

I was unexpectedly called out of a class I was attending one long ago Sunday afternoon, because I was told that a man wanted to see the Bishop. In the hall I found a rather distraught man in his early thirties who pleasantly greeted me and requested that we meet. As we sat down I soon found that he was the husband of a woman who attended the church on a regular basis. He apologized to me that he had never taken the time to attend church since his family had moved to the area a few months before. I told him that an apology wasn’t necessary and I would be happy to help out in any way I could.

This man began our conversation by telling me in great detail regarding the faults of his wife. He told me she was a bad cook, a bad money manager, a bad housecleaner etc. etc.. He continued his rather extensive criticism of his wife by saying she was a neglectful mother, and ended his emotional accusations by saying, “She’s a terrible wife.” I listened patiently and was about to discuss his accusations when the root of his problem came forth. He explained that because she was such a bad wife he had sought affection from another women at work. It was clear to me that what he had really come to see me about was to receive approval from me that his actions were justified.

I had no ideal if his accusations had any merit or if his wife was innocent of all his charges, but what I did know was that the commandment given to Moses, as recorded in Exodus, was “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”, and it didn’t give the out of having a supposed “terrible wife.” In fact, Jesus Christ not only confirmed the teachings of Moses, he taught:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

I explained the above commandment and that despite his feelings, it didn’t justify his actions. His demeanor quickly changed and he abruptly put an end to our meeting and promptly left.

Like this man, sometimes we like to justify our unrighteous actions by seeking approval by those in authority. When that approval is not given, we become offended and somehow blame others for not being kind or loving. The Lord loved all those who came to him with a “broken heart and a contrite spirit” and who sought for mercy and forgiveness, but he never gave approval of sinful behavior.

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