Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sermon preview--The Seventh Commandment

The commercial only aired once, during the Super Bowl a few years ago. A woman sits in a nice restaurant. A man arrives late. He shushes her to focus on his cell phone call, gawks at a passing waitress, tries to discourage the woman from eating cheesecake lest she get fat. He then gets up and leaves, saying, "Happy Anniversary, Honey." The voice-over says, "Have you ever been on a terrible blind date? Now imagine that date lasts the rest of your life. Maybe it's time for something new." The spot ends with the woman and a handsome stranger in the restaurant making come-hither eyes at one another.

The company that sponsored the ad (which will go nameless here) bills itself as a dating service for people who are already in a relationship. They have previously advertised with billboards saying, "Life is short. Have an affair." In one of those all-too-rare moments that restore one's faith in humanity, there was tremendous public outrage over the Super Bowl commercial, such that subsequent ads have been rejected by the networks. At the very least, society at large still thinks it's wrong to be unfaithful to one's spouse. But plenty of people still buy the message of that commercial. And popular culture, through tawdry soap operas, cheap romance novels, and even classic movies like Dr. Zhivago, sell us the message that forbidden love is exciting, romantic. Sometimes, our culture seems to say, adultery IS the right thing.

What does God have to say about the subject? And why did He single out adultery as a topic of one of His Ten Commandments? Are we permitted to indulge mentally in what is forbidden physically? And how can we set a pattern for life that will keep us faithful for a lifetime? We'll talk about that and more this Sunday.

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