A priest friend told the story of a little boy who confessed to adultery. He asked the little boy, “What do you think adultery is?” and the little boy said, “Well, sometimes I try to act like an adult, and I know I’m not.”
Even though the word adultery has “adult” in it, adultery and the lust that accompanies it often involves all kinds of childish behavior—sneaking around, keeping secrets, acting on impulse, giving oneself over to bodily impulses despite recognizing that they aren’t rational or honoring to God or spouses. We might even hear an adulterous person say, “I felt like a kid again.” It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out, until hearts and trust and covenants are broken, and everything gets messy and complicated beyond repair.
Jesus says we need to tear an eye out if it causes you to sin (v. 29), to nip lust in the bud so to speak. We must behave as adults when faced with adultery.
Jesus offers a life based on the law of God’s love here. He invites us to a wholehearted faith that moves beyond legalism to know and honor the spirit of God’s law. Despite the responsibilities that come with “adulting,” and the temptations we face to act childish once again, growing into the person Christ envisions us to be is an incomparable and joyful experience.
Paul reminds us that when we become adults we “put an end to childish ways” (1 Cor 13:11). We see and know more fully; we draw closer to the more excellent way, the love that never ends.
When do you struggle to grow into the person Christ envisions you to be?
God, give us wisdom to understand your desire to guide all of our relationships. Amen.