Adultery is always stupid. That is the premise we are following in these last verses of Proverbs chapter 6. Here we see that adultery is stupid because it will eventually yield punishment. This refers to a day when adultery was a punishable offense in a nation. In some nations it still is a punishable offense. Where it is, the rates of adultery and divorce are far lower than in nations where marriage is no longer protected by law.
The wounds, disgrace, and reproach that are spoken of here are all due in part to the public punishment that came with adultery in biblical times. A simple review of the laws against adultery help us to see that this was considered a very serious sin. First we have God stating that this particular sin was part of the 10 commandments. "You shall not commit adultery," is found in Exodus 20 where God gives the commandments to Moses. Later in Leviticus 20 we see where God makes it clear that adultery was considered a capital offensein Israel (and in God's sight). "If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." If we were to trace the damage done to not just the marriage but to families and societies through adultery, we might not look at this as too strict.
There used to be a time when adultery was seen as a very disgraceful thing. It was easy to see that what God said here is true. The reproach from being and adultery would not be able to be blotted out. There is a stigma to those who break their marriage vows by having sex with someone who is not their wife. This stigma is natural - and it is only as we have turned from God and from His truth that we have decided to try our best to erase that stigma from our society. Jeremiah's prophecy is filled with rebuke for the adultery that was rampant in the land. In Jeremiah 23:14 we read this prophetic word to God's people, "Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah." This sin, when it was ignored by God's people and by their prophets, would "strengthen the hands of evildoers." When adultery is tolerated by a society and treated as no big deal, we read that no one turns back from their wickedness. We find a soceity where the most basic bonds of relationship break down - and thus any kind of trustworthiness also breaks down with it.
In recent years we've heard a chorus of those who tell us that it does not matter if one of our elected officials has committed adultery and divorced their partner. We view it as part of the normal landscape that this happens, and in so doing, destroy the foundation upon which the home - and thereby society in general is built. The complete lack of character in our elected officials is a testimony to the truth of the Scriptures when it comes to adultery and being faithful to your vows in your marriage. We've watched as again and again that if these men and women won't be faithful to the closest bond and promise that they have made, why would we think that would be faithful to a vow to adhere to and defend the principles in the Constitution?
Some may say that this is too harsh. Jesus Himself forgave the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. To this I would say a hearty, "Amen!" He did forgive her - and He forgives those who commit adultery today. But our problem is that we've degenerated to a point where we question if adultery should even be classified as sin. We've come to the point where we want to give the forgiveness without also stating the other thing Jesus said that day, "Go and sin no more." We watch as elected officials lie to our faces on televison that they did not have sex with that woman - and then expect the forgiveness and absolution without any repentance and confession. What we should realize is that whether we embrace it or not - adultery is going to cause very serious problems for an individual - and for a society that seeks to sweep it under the proverbial moral rug.
Adultery is always stupid. It always has consequences. It always will involve disgrace and reproach - at least in the eyes of God (and that is what counts in the end). The wise man sets a very clear boundary in his life when it comes to adultery. He not only sets a boundary, but he also sets a reminder that crossing this boundary will result in bad consequences. And since our society no longer sees fit to protect marriage in this way - we will have to do even more on the personal level to have reminders, boundaries, and warnings in our hearts to protect us from it.