Jesus taught a radical view of adultery. It sparked then presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter, to confess in his famous Playboy interview: "I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times…" I am assuming that Carter himself was not a "reader" of Playboy, or he might have been tempted to follow Jesus’ admonition and pluck out his eye, or cut off his hand!
One wonders what Jesus’ teaching would say about the fact that the internet opens a pornography shop in the home of every family who owns a computer with an internet connection? Clearly we need to go beyond paying lip service to a desire for purity and take concrete physical steps to maintain sexual purity, perhaps falling short from plucking out eyes and severing extremities.
Conventional wisdom says that "adultery in the heart" is more of a man-male problem than a woman-female problem. However, I think it is fair to say that while its expression may differ by gender, that there is plenty of lust to go around, especially in a society where adultery is the norm in popular culture. Just tune your television to any of the CBS situation comedy offerings and you will be able to confirm what I am saying. A CBS’s offering on Friday nights has a young single woman pursuing her soulmate at the urging of a psychic by engaging in serial sexual encounters with her ex-boyfriends. If she doesn’t find her one and marry within a year, says the psychic, she will be alone her entire life.
As I write this I kind of feel guilty about watching the first two episodes of this series all the while wondering if people really live this way, talk this way and think this way in real life.
It seems clear that Jesus’ followers will pursue the ideal of sexual purity. As one who, along with former President Carter and every man I know, has miserably failed the adultery-free lifestyle test, I find it a radical standard to aim for, but one worth striving for just the same.