Read Proverbs 6:27-29
27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
and not have his clothes catch on fire?
28 Can he walk on hot coals
and not blister his feet?
29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
He who embraces her will not go unpunished. (NLT)
It has sometimes been said of some wrongdoing that it is OK as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. I have even heard it said of adultery. No-one needs to know, no-one gets hurt. A sentiment that the writer of this proverb calls a lie.
The picture is clear enough. Play with fire and you get burned. You might think it is a bit of harmless fun, a passing fling with no longer term consequences. But there are always consequences. There is inevitable deceit. There is collateral damage to the existing marriage partners or children. No-one really wins.
When the text speaks of ‘punishment’, it doesn’t necessarily mean some divine thunderbolt hurled from the sky to bring the affair to a messy end. Adultery can continue for quite some time without too many observable effects. But there is a general decay of inner integrity and trust that will impact other relationships. It will have consequences even if that adulterous affair leads to subsequent marriage.
We can be burnt in all sorts of ways. It is best avoided by not playing with fire in the first place.