Daily Devotional for Tuesday March 20, 2007
The Destruction of Online Romances
(Matthew 5:28; John 10:10)
"My husband of 15 years has moved out. He left while I was at work. He simply left a note saying that he doesn't want to be married. I caught him a few months ago talking to women he met in online chat rooms. Please pray for the restoration of our marriage."
"I found out that my wife has been having an affair. I began checking her computer and discovered that she had joined several adult dating sites, had email accounts I never knew about, and had been meeting men she met on the internet for over 2 years. Please pray for me, I am going crazy!"
Having been operating on the internet for nearly 8 years now and receiving over 40,000 emails a day for prayer, I sadly witness daily the incredible destruction of online romances. For all of the wonderful good of the internet, it has also opened the door for millions of married people to easily walk down the dark path of online romances that destroys lives. Yes, I know married people have had affairs and committed adultery since the beginning of God's Holy Institution of Marriage. However, never before has it been so easy to cheat and to meet other people who are also looking to cheat.
The internet is a tool. Like all tools, if used properly it can be an incredible blessing. Liveprayer.com is a perfect example. Over 160,000 people we know of have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior through Liveprayer and millions of people worldwide are fed daily through Liveprayer.com. Like all tools, used improperly it can be a curse. Satan immediately gave men living in rebellion to God the vision to pervert the internet to destroy lives. Online gambling makes it possible for people to not even have to get dressed or leave their home to become enslaved to that bondage and destroy their finances.
Pornography on the Internet made it possible for people to watch any and every kind of perverted form of sex you could dream up in the comfort of your home or office. For those in bondage to porn, it meant no more trips to the sex shops or adult video stores. Everything you could ever want is only a mouse click away. The almost endless availability and ease to access online pornography has also birthed a new generation of porn addicts and perverted God's plan for sex for many boys and girls who have grown up with the internet.
Today, I want to focus on a huge and ever growing problem, and that is the destruction of online romances. I have dealt with this issue many times in regards to those who are single meeting people on the internet and the whole issue of internet dating. However, I want to focus this message on those who are married and get caught up in online romances. I see marriages every day decimated by these online romances, leaving destroyed lives in their wake like a battlefield strewn with bodies after the fighting is over.
MARRIED PEOPLE GETTING INVOLVED IN ONLINE ROMANCES IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST THREATS TO MARRIAGES IN THE YEAR 2007 AND IS A PROBLEM THAT IS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE!
Having seen these online romances evolve about every way there is, I have to say that in many cases, it really does start out fairly innocuous. I honestly believe that the vast majority of these online romances married people engage in begin due to the ease of finding people in the hundreds of thousands of chatrooms and message boards that litter the internet, because it is anonymous, and without any real plan or goal of it ever going any further than their computer screen. That is how sneaky and tricky satan is.
Please, do not be fooled! Chatting, flirting, talking inappropriately with someone who is not your spouse online is just as wrong as if you were doing it at a bar, club, work, or a bus stop! These online romances start because YOU open a door that you weren't supposed to. When you open the door for satan, don't whine and cry when he walks in! Let me say this very clearly and concisely. IF YOU ARE MARRIED, YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS CHATTING WITH, FLIRTING WITH, GETTING PERSONAL WITH, SOMEONE WHO IS NOT YOUR SPOUSE ONLINE! PERIOD!
"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:28
Trust me, I have heard ALL the tortured reasons people start "chatting" with someone who is not their spouse. "My husband doesn't pay attention to me." "My wife is boring and never wants to have sex." "My husband doesn't understand me." "My wife doesn't understand me." The list is almost endless! The bottom line is that satan is the great justifier. He will always give you reasons to justify doing things that you should not be doing. Do I have to remind you that when you got married you made vows to God and your spouse for life???
Here is the quicksand so many fall into. They begin chatting via IMs and email with someone online. Like any relationship, it progresses. What I see in most cases is the conversations start off dealing with all of the general information two people talk about when they first meet. The funny thing is, you end up talking for endless hours with this person. You can't wait to get online to see if they have emailed you. You count the hours until you can log on to IM with the person. The biggest problem in most marriages is a lack of communication. If you were talking with your husband or wife as much as you are the person you are having this online romance with, your marriage would be 1000x better!
Of course it is not long before the conversion turns to sex. As you both begin to explore that area, you turn into a 15-year-old high school kid again. Now you are in the grips of satan and he really has you. It starts with the explicit chat and emails, but like all sin, takes on a life of its own. Pretty soon you are tired of just chatting online and the next step is the phone. Of course, it isn't very long before you are now ready to take the ultimate step and actually meet each other. What started out with some "innocent" chats online, is now a full blown sexual affair and the end result is usually one or two destroyed marriages, destroyed relationships with children, destroyed friendships, destroyed careers, destroyed finances, destroyed health...TOTAL DESTRUCTION!
If you are married, let me tell you today how you can work to avoid going down the destructive path of an online romance. Just like we need accountability in all areas of our life, our marriage is no different. Does your spouse have the password to your computer, at home and work? To your cell phone? Does your spouse know ALL of your email addresses? Would you be worried if your spouse read your emails and IMs? The greatest protection from an online romance is accountability and transparency with your spouse. If you have a problem with that, you have some fundamental problems in your marriage that need to be addressed immediately!
I love you and care about you so much. It is no accident or coincidence you are reading these words today. If you are currently involved in an online romance God is saying STOP NOW! This is your wake up call. This is not a game! RUN FROM THIS SIN NOW! Close down all of your extra email accounts that you use to communicate with the person you are involved with. Delete "UNREAD" any emails from them. Block their IMs. Don't answer their phone calls if it is at that stage. STOP SEEING THEM IMMEDIATELY if you are at that stage. God is telling you to cut if off NOW! The only thing you have to look forward to if you continue is the complete and total destruction of your life and the lives of those around you! I will be praying today for God to give you the strength to end your online romance now!
If you have had your life destroyed by an online romance, know today that God is a God of healing and restoration. I want to pray for you today that He will help you to heal. If you and your spouse are still married and will both humble yourselves before the Lord and allow Him to work in your lives, He can repair what satan has destroyed. It will not be easy, it will take time, and there will be permanent scars, but with God's help you can move forward. I will be praying for God's healing and restoring power to be at work in your lives.
There will always be problems to work out with your spouse. That is simply part of two people becoming one. It is never easy and takes lots of love, patience, time, communication, and commitment. This is the person God has given you to spend the rest of your life with. THEY are the one you should be talking to, not someone else. They are the one you are to invest all of your time, emotions, and love into, NOT SOMEONE ELSE! Jesus told us the enemy comes to what? Kill, steal and what? DESTROY!!! That is what will happen to your life if you get involved in an online romance!