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Act Now. Pay Later.

This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and is written by Robert Wolgemuth the author of Lies Men Believe.

Very late at night and into the morning, over runny cheese omelets and cold toast at an all-night diner with my friend, we had one of those conversations I was sure I would never forget. I haven’t.

A phone call from the guy’s wife led to this man-to-man talk. I had known them both for several years. He was a free spirit. Impetuous, compulsive, and dangerous. She was Mrs. Level Head. Intentional, focused, and unflappable.

But when the receptionist buzzed my office and told me who was on line two and that she was crying, I knew it must be serious.

It was.

My buddy was on an extended business trip, and his wife had been doing some deep cleaning of his space at the house. In the base cabinet of his bathroom sink, she found some contraceptives she didn’t recognize. This horrible discovery led her on an uncharacteristically frantic search. In another secret place, she found more.

Then she inquired of women in their lives. Friends, babysitters, and housekeepers. And sure enough, they had stories to spill.

So taking “tough love” to a world record-setting place, she emptied his closet and dresser. She labeled boxes for his parents on the West Coast and shipped them. She filled his car with the rest and called me. She asked me to meet my friend at the airport with the news of her discovery and a letter, sending him packing. Literally.

No More Coffee

Our midnight breakfast was finished. The waitress, who kept calling us “honey” and asking if we wanted more coffee, had cleared our table. My friend was ready to talk.

It began with a simple question from me. “What were you thinking?”

A wisp of emotion filled his eyes. He took a deep breath. “I guess I figured I could work all this out someday,” he sighed.

We sat quietly, trying to consider what he had just said.

This experience from over three decades ago has returned to my memory many times since it happened. Like you, I’ve been tempted to act now, pay later. And I’ve followed the stories of Christian leaders, highly respected authors and seminary professors, and megachurch pastors whose salacious stories have come to light.

And my question to them, although I’ve not had the chance to actually ask it to many, is the same as that late night/early morning breakfast with my friend.

“What were you thinking?”

Tragic as it is, the story of men making foolish choices with their eyes open is not a new story. Men who figured that they would somehow, some way, someday … figure it out. You know, cross that bridge when they get there.

Even to the unchurched man, the account of Adam and Eve is not unfamiliar. The forbidden fruit, the serpent’s deceptive approach to the man’s wife, and then when confronted, the man’s sad acquiescence. Perhaps, he was more willing to disobey God than to risk his lady’s scorn.

Sowing and Reaping and Asking for Help

So like a handful of seeds slung out with no thought to their sure springing up, the first man must have determined that, although he clearly knew what he was doing was wrong, he’d figure this one out. Later.

But that’s a lie. The time will come for you and me when there’s no more figuring this out. No more wiggle room. No chance to recover. Only a pain-filled harvest.

So what to do now? If my all-night breakfast meeting with my friend is making your heart race, if you’re somewhere between taking the bite and being found out, call a friend you trust. Find a safe place to tell him the truth. Ask for help. Don’t wait for your wife to make that call. Please don’t wait.

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Gal 6:7 ESV).

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