Lessons From The Ledge
Lessons From The Ledge

Lessons From The Ledge

One evening over dinner, a ministry leader told me a tragic story of a successful Christian leader who had "slept in the wrong bed." As he reflected on this, he pointed out an important truth - we often don't stumble when we're on our way up the ladder of success. It's when we're at the very top that we're most prone to fall.

This pattern is illustrated vividly in the life of King David. David did not fall into sin while he was climbing the ladder. He fell when he was at the pinnacle of power. How could a man described as being "after God's own heart" fall so far? As an inspired writer, brilliant military tactician, and godly leader of Israel, David was profoundly gifted. Yet during a time when he should have been away at war with his troops, David remained at the palace and began wandering idly on the roof. From this vantage point he saw Bathsheba bathing, and began lusting after her.

The Slippery Slope of Sexual Sin

What followed David's initial glance was a progression that is all too common:

  • Contemplation - Entertaining impure thoughts
  • Flirtation - Testing boundaries through conversation
  • Isolation - Seeking opportunities to be alone with the person
  • Consummation - The act itself
  • Consequences - The devastating results that follow

David experienced all of these steps, starting with lustful thoughts about Bathsheba, flirtatious invitations, strategic isolation, consummation of adultery, and ultimately murder to cover it up. The consequences were agonizing.

In the exhilaration of romance and marriage, many spouses never dream they'll one day betray their vows. But the slippery slope toward infidelity can overtake anyone. It often begins subtly through mindless choices - neglecting date night, traveling alone, withdrawing emotionally, entertaining fantasies, or engaging in seemingly harmless banter. Before we realize it, we're teetering on the ledge of compromise.

Ten Commandments for Purity

Here are the ten commandments that Lisa and I live by to guard our marriage. Though not perfect, these commitments have protected our relationship for decades:

  1. I shall have no other human relationships before my spouse.
  2. Remember my date night and keep it holy.
  3. Honor my spouse on anniversaries and special days so that you may live long in the land the Lord has given you.
  4. I shall not take the covenant of marriage in vain.
  5. I shall not ride in a car or eat in a restaurant alone with a member of the opposite sex.
  6. I shall not travel alone.
  7. I shall not counsel a member of the opposite sex with the doors closed.
  8. I shall not watch, read, or expose myself to sexually explicit shows, books, and websites.
  9. I will not view or expose myself to sexually explicit media.
  10. I shall remember the implications of committing adultery.

Are some of these guardrails extreme? Perhaps. But they represent the kind of intentionality and vigilance it takes to remain faithful over the long haul.

Hope for the Road Back

If you feel far from ledge but are still plagued by lustful thoughts, take comfort that these do not condemn you. The enemy wins when we allow toxic shame to paralyze us. In moments of temptation, brevity is best - flee and refocus on Christ. Avoid over-analyzing.

And if you've already gone too far down the slope, take heart that many have walked this road before you - including King David. By God's grace, your story is not over. Humble yourself, confess, and step into the light. Seek godly counsel and allow your failures to deepen your dependence on the God who forgives completely.

May we all avoid the ledge of compromise that so easily entangles. And for those who have stumbled, may we extend the same grace that we all desperately need.