I have a relative who I am very fond of. When I was a boy, she was married to a good man, and we always wanted to see those two at family reunions. We liked them both so much.
It was not easy for me to understand when the stories began to circulate, and even I heard, that the husband had another woman in his life; he was unfaithful. It made sense for me, that they should stay happy together.
I still don’t understand why he did that to his wife. Most of the details were never told to me as a boy, but I learned that the “girlfriend” would come to the house, and when the wife answered the door, she would ask for her “boyfriend” because they were going on a date.
Many years later, I met someone who had worked with the “girlfriend” and that person was shocked that the man would leave his nice wife for the other woman. Apparently, he did not get the best one.
If you want to know the end, the married couple divorced, and the man married his “girlfriend.” The ex-wife, my relative, was single for several years and then married another man. Those two seem to be happy now in their retirement, many years later. I talked to her a while ago, and she is happy now that her husband left her. She can live the rest of her life without his unfaithfulness and cheating.
I’m not trying to be Jerry Springer here, but that was a formative experience for me, as I grew to be a young man. The unfaithfulness was wrong, but the information did some good in me. I learned the hard lesson that faithfulness is hard for some people.
Those hard lessons can be good for us:
Years later, when I worked in my career, I saw unfaithfulness in the workplace. I had friends who were hired with promises from the boss. Then I watched for months and years, as they were steered away from promotion, and even fired. With better treatment, they would have been better employees. The resource would have been good for the company. So many managers could have great success, if they keep their promises.
We only go as far as our team will take us.
This also happens from the other side. A friend of mine owned a small business, and he started to get customer complaints from people who were not customers. He learned that a salesman was selling in the company name, but shipping directly to his customers and keeping all the money. My friend only got the complaints, and he paid the salesman’s salary.
That career ended quickly.
Unfaithfulness is a human problem, and some people carry it with them wherever they go. I have been burned a few times, but I think those early lessons have helped me to be wary.
So, what makes us unfaithful? That’s the wrong question; we make ourselves and we are responsible for our choices. So, what influences us to make promises until people believe us and trust what we say, and then what influences us to violate that trust?
We are told, in the Bible, that God gives people up, to what they really want:
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1: 28)
They are filled with … They are full of … They are … “foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (v 31)
If we want to go in that direction, God can give the push. It’s a scary thought; we can have what we secretly want, but there is no promise that we can come back.
We can become like a star on the ‘Doctor Phil Show’ or with Jerry Springer.
We can undermine and destroy success in our own lives. That unfaithful husband, who used to be related to me, probably has an interesting story now. And I have met some managers and employers, in retirement. Those who did not keep their promises did not find success, and the conversations can be awkward. No one had their back. That salesman will never be trusted by anyone who knows him.
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4: 2)
If we believe that God made this world, it’s logical to believe that we will find the most success when we are like the Creator, and not the opposite. The secret is, God is faithful to us, and that is our model.