Proverbs 6:27-35 “Can a man hold fire against his chest without burning his clothes? Can a man walk on hot coals without scorching his feet? So it is with the one who sleeps with his neighbor’s wife; no one who touches her will escape punishment. People do not despise a thief when he steals to fulfill his need when he is hungry. Yet if he is caught he must repay seven times over, he might even have to give all the wealth of his house. A man who commits adultery with a woman lacks sense, whoever does it destroys his own life. He will be beaten and despised, and his reproach will not be wiped away; for jealousy kindles a husband’s rage, and he will not show mercy when he takes revenge. He will not consider any compensation; he will not be willing, even if you multiply the compensation.”
When we think of the heartache that sexual immorality, pornography, and adultery cause in our culture today, it shouldn’t surprise us when we read about it so frequently in Proverbs. The emphasis here is on the danger and the consequences that come from engaging in immoral behavior, with a special warning to watch out for a spouse’s revenge!
As a pastor I’ve dealt with many situations revolving around adultery. Some couples were reconciled, while others ended in divorce, but all were devastated. One instance sticks out in my mind of a serial adulterer who continually fooled around with those he was supposed to be mentoring at work. He eventually lost his job, his family, and ultimately his license to practice medicine. “Can a man hold fire against his chest without burning his clothes?“
Don’t be confused about verses concerning a thief. The issue isn’t to compare adultery and theft, but the end results of both when you are caught. In fact, a very interesting comparison may be occurring. You may end up with sympathy for a thief, because he needs food to live. However, that’s not going to help him if he’s caught! If a thief is punished sevenfold, how much more will someone be punished who is caught in adultery?