After Opportunity Comes Exploration
“Opportunity” refers to the entry levels of seduction. The next stage, exploration, manifests as preoccupation when a person seeks, in time and as occasion presents itself, to discover whether feelings are mutual. In other words, the antennas are raised, wondering if the other person thinks or feels the same. It is a conscious quest for feedback.
In the exploration stage, one opens the door to that arena where demonic intrusion finds entrance. And peculiarly, “amazing coincidences” occur that can convince a person that there is something so right — maybe even God’s will — to what is going on in his or her mind and feelings about this relationship. For me, what had begun as mutual interest in a task occasioned eventual expressions of amazement at the affinity that we supposed evidenced something unique between us: “I was just thinking that same thing!”
For some people, it can be that as the two are talking together, both say exactly the same words at the same time, and they laugh at their apparent “being so much alike.” But such a moment of laughter indicates more than just what may be humorous; it introduces a certain mutual delight — a sense of internal gratification that argues to one or both of them, “It’s true. We really are in sync in a special way.” What begins as simple similarity and grows to an observed affinity progresses toward a disintegration, since, where deception is at work, there is no goal of uniting anything — only of dismantling God’s purpose for people and of breaking hearts, homes and hopes.
Finally Comes Deception That Leads to Bondage
Deception and bondage go hand in hand. One flows into the other. When this occurs, blindness has taken hold — not blindness to what is wrong but blindness to the reality of the compromise that has occurred. This is an activity of seducing, or deceiving, spirits, which the Bible describes: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).
Comments such as “We really have an unusual relationship, don’t we? What are we supposed to mean to each other anyway?” were not really questions. They were explorations of a deepening quest to receive affirmation of something that neither of us had the right to offer the other.
The deceptive thoughts tried to give credibility to the relationship with a line of reasoning that was spawned in hell, twisting my mind’s perspective to a place where I was on the brink of self-destruction, though I thought it was the height of insight via a unique sensitivity to “someone special.” With the verbal interaction between this woman and me, the lie began to deepen and take root. That brought the bondage. For me, this happened without my realizing how deep it really went.
The Day of Deliverance
When by His mercy and grace the Lord brought me to the place of confession, renunciation, repentance and deliverance, it was a painful, hard, emotional time for both Anna and me. I had vandalized my wife’s emotions. She had not known what I had been thinking until it was over, but that did not mitigate the tremendous emotional trauma I caused her by making my precious wife feel rejected. Anna was exceedingly gracious, exceedingly righteous in her response, but that doesn’t mean it was any less hurtful to her. It also does not mean that I was any less guilty.
Adultery — even the emotional brand I was entrapped in — is not something that can be whitewashed in a moment. It required many, many months for emotional healing to take place, and something on the order of two years for a full-dimensioned restoration of peace, security and mutual confidence in our marriage. This was absolutely not because of Anna’s unwillingness, but simply because the most forgiving soul still is a human one, and healing from a violation of any kind — just as from a terrible accident — takes time. That time needs to be honored, and it must be given to love’s nurturing and patient care.
In the decades since, Anna and I have often shared this story with groups of couples, each telling it from our own perspective, in order to help them discern the anatomy of seduction and adultery. After we tell them what happened, then we sit before them and let them ask us questions about the aftermath. I believe that the transparency of our testimony has imparted encouragement and enlightenment (and perhaps, in some cases, conviction) to others, strengthening their commitment to fidelity to Jesus and to their marriage.
But believe me, even though enormous grace and goodness from God have far surpassed my embarrassment over the near success of the Adversary and the shameful show of my fleshly weakness, surrendering to seduction is not worth it. This is not a story to relive — it is a warning to receive and a seductive path to reject.
From The Anatomy of Seduction, © 2004 by Jack Hayford. Published by Regal Books, www.regalbooks.com. Used by permission. All rights reserved.