Not all the problems a pastor faces involve physical contact. Equally serious, although never revealed in most cases, are emotional affairs. They happen with a smile, a little extra time, attention, a listening ear and an interested look. Soon the pastor is dreaming of the affair he may never have in the flesh, but he’s had it in his mind.
Emotional affairs don’t seem as deadly as a physical affair to most, but they have their consequences and often they are as serious as the physical affair. The pastor finds himself distancing from his wife and looking for those emotional “fixes” with the “other woman”. They seem harmless, but if you could see his thoughts you would know otherwise. The price for the pastor’s marriage is the biggest cost of all. Although he may never betray his wife sexually he has had a change of affections and she notices it.
Soon the distance between them is further than they know and he is more drawn to an affair because his affections are given to another woman and not his wife. The bait in this trap seems harmless. It’s just a little time to care for a woman in need of a friendly ear, someone who cares, but soon it’s much more.
Affairs begin with innocent steps that no one would ever notice, but God sees. He knows. He’s aware. This ministry of a pastor is serious business and should never be taken lightly. It’s a serious calling, just as the priestly role was in the days of Aaron and Moses. There is a holiness that God expects.
In 1 Cor. 6:19-20 Paul gives us three keys to dealing with these emotional affairs and how to think about your life, you love and your ministry. Study the passage and you will find the keys to making choices, but to help make it easy here they are in a nutshell, 1. You are not your own, 2. You have been bought with a price, so 3. Glorify God in your body.
If we could live by these three simple guidelines a lot of our problems would vanish and we would find a real joy in walking with God and denying sin.