Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Journey Past the Isle of the Sirens

Temptation.
                It is a mesmerizing melody, leading us blindly to our own demise. It is the ancient seductress of all righteous people.  It is the siren’s song.
                Every man on Earth feels the constant pull of a force that seeks to derail them for their life’s true mission.  What is temptation? It comes in many forms, but at the very root it desires to lead us into forsaking our deepest moral obligations and convictions.  Virtue and temptation are eternally at odds.
                A few months after I came clean to Hannah about my affair, I got a tattoo about this very idea.  The battle between virtue and temptation is ancient and epic, and each of us must decide where we stand in this struggle daily. 
    

                This image is a scene from The Odyssey by Homer.  In this passage, the hero (Odysseus) must pass by the isle of the sirens, which draw men to their deaths with their seducing melodies.  Odysseus is aware of this, and he orders the men on his ship to bind him to the mast and cover his ears.  He then commands them that they must stay the course on their journey, no matter what his temptation-maddened mind suggests instead.  This is the essence of true faithfulness, defiant in the face of blatant temptation.
                As I mentioned in a previous post, some people view marital obligation as a hindrance.  As a person who nearly lost it all, I have a renewed appreciation for it.  Faithfulness to a belief is like a taproot that strikes down to the deepest part of a man’s moral bedrock.  When we bind ourselves to a principle, like Odysseus to the mast, we declare a greater truth than our preferences or momentary whims ever could. We are pledging ourselves to a higher purpose now and forever.
                That’s why I love this illustration.  Faithfulness requires deliberate action and daily commitment.  It is not for the faint-hearted, and it is not a given.  We cannot simply stumble into being people of integrity – it demands sacrifice, effort and intention. 
                As I write these words, the phantom of my own failures torments me silently.  There are voices within that lob accusations of hypocrisy and shame at my spirit.  I know that I’m not qualified to write these words, and that every sentence could be met with contempt and condemnation. Nevertheless, I press on for the benefit of others. 
                I encourage you to take a moment and evaluate your marriage covenant, and perhaps other important moral causes in your heart.  Today, resolve once again to bind yourself to them as a promise of future faithfulness no matter what the sirens sing.  In doing this, we will strike a mighty blow to the unseen forces of temptation that march towards us constantly.

3 comments:

  1. Ray;
    -----You have been qualified by God to write that. In as much as repentance is a chosen turn away from something to its opposite, forgiveness is thought chosen away from what you were to acknowledge what you have chosen to now be. That this thought starts in God’s mind is nearly an imperative for you to carry it on in yours. What is the past but tracks of man in the dust? It is your heart that is made of conscious cords tied to everything you've done. But repentance itself changes their nature, changing your relationship to what you've done from desiring to have done it to desiring not to have done it. Do not be deceived by the influences of Eastern philosophy's attack upon desires. Desires are a tremendous part of the Scripturally portrayed human soul. We are not able to create many things, our own salvation and righteousness included. Nor can we create a blank where there are memories of past failures. But we can sincerely desire salvation and righteousness and blotted out history. The magnificent splendor of God is that He grants desires. The nature of the cords of your soul tied to these past failures are changed by the blank this history is in God's mind. That is huge. And its import is meant to deliver joy into your new life even through the connections to undesirable history that remain in your mind. You can't let go of the cords, but you can make them play new chords. This also is a resisting of the temptation to dance to the old music of old feelings. And it is an important resistance, for the kingdom of heaven is not food or drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. And joy is the momentum of new life.

    Love you immensely,
    God bless,
    Steve

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  2. Ray
    I told Hannah in another post that I was so blessed at reading your blog. I'm reading every entry and wanted to tattoo so much of this on my heart…but actually I would like to make a sleeve of these words!
    In all honesty, I cannot thank you enough for being so BOLD at your discrepancies and not being afraid to hide from it. I think that's when a part of healing begins that I don't think anyone experiences until they really are able to say…"I messed up…I did this…"
    I can tell you from growing up similarly to Hannah, that I always thought loving Jesus meant being perfect and when I wasn't, I still pretended to be. Wrong. The moment I really messed up and looked at my life and couldn't recognize who I was…is the moment I truly knew God as you said in another post. If you have never been so desperate for grace and forgiveness, I don't know if you've experienced grace in the way I am pleased to have experienced. It allow me to forgive myself (after awhile) but also to forgive others.
    I just really can't express my gratitude for you sharing your story. I've been on the end with Hannah, it's actually interesting to read on "the other side." She is blessed to have someone who is so remorseful. I've been on the side where there was no remorse, and it was me crawling back wondering what I could have done different so he wouldn't have been unfaithful. Thank you for this. I don't know what I feel when I read this, but I feel God giving me a vision of you guys really helping people who you may not even know you are helping. Transparency heals. Be blessed.

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    Replies
    1. Tawni! Thank you so much for your kind words! Even though we are miles apart and haven't seen each other in years.. you continue to be such a huge blessing in my life. Thank you for reading :) Love you girl!

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