Confessional Lutherans say it's *impossible* to use the materials of CW which major on the third us of the Law, follow CW's empty format and still preach the Gospel of Christ in the Divine Service every Sunday. Impossible. The below letter is right on the mark, and gives us all something to consider. A letter about faithfulness.
My brother has been married for twenty years to the same woman. She is his first wife and he, her first husband. They have four children. His wife has always been a good and faithful woman and he has not strayed from her even once.
I know my sister-in-law very well, Abby. Of course she is not perfect, but apart from a few foibles, no one could ask for a better wife. She is not strikingly beautiful but by no means unattractive! Hers is a solid and healthy beauty with the temperament to match. Most people who get to know her (women and men alike) become strongly attracted to her. She is educated and accomplished, has a robust self image and is completely devoted to her family, friends and community. You could never want for a better friend. Whoever meets her comes away better for the experience. While this may sound like romanticizing, be assured that I am as sober a judge of human nature as there is, and I can tell you this: there may be other good women, but none better. Her family is blessed far beyond their ability to recognize, and this resplendent, lovely woman is content to be who she is.
I'm sure you will understand my amazement then, Abby, when I first realized that my brother was meandering from his mate. I say meandering" because it was all so gradual and non-specific, not a single thing you could "hang your hat on." He has not committed adultery, sought a divorce, mistreated his wife or abandoned his children. In fact he's home most evenings, kisses his kids good night, goes to some family activities, pays the bills and talks politely to his wife — though no longer of intimate things I imagine, for he seems to have a new confidant.
My brother arranged a job for his "friend" at our company. They now lunch together nearly every day; and when they work late they share dinner, too. There's not really anything wrong with that though, after all people do have to eat. At the company Christmas party he danced many of the dances with her. But how can he be faulted for that - nearly everyone dances with persons other than their spouse at such galas. He danced with his wife, too - but maybe with less interest than she deserves. He has also spent a lot of time with this other woman's children in the last six months or so but who's counting? She went through a nasty divorce last year and her two boys "need a male role model" my brother tells me, and "what's wrong with that"? He also seems to gawk at her an awful lot - but then she is very pleasant to look at, so who can blame him?
I've talked with my brother about the situation but he doesn't understand my concern. He assures me that he is faithful to his wife and that "there is no problem." He says that he has never laid a hand or lip on this woman, but at the company party I saw him whispering in her ear a lot during the slow dances. When I asked him about it he instructed me that there was "nothing wrong with whispering" and that "people normally do talk more quietly when they're in a relaxed mood." Lately my brother gets quite angry if I bring up the subject.
I feel like there is a problem, Abby, but he says that he has not been unfaithful and has no intentions of ever leaving the woman he loves. Am I wrong for being concerned; and what should I do?
Dear Bewildered, If I were you I'd believe what your brother says, that he has "no intentions of ever leaving the woman he loves."
Rev. Dean Kavouras