I Almost Threw It All Away!
Testimony of Lorne Matthews
My destructive choices were worse than burning money. I was in a ‘tender trap’ and it all FELT so good. My mind said it had to be of God! On the altar of selfish emotions, I was sacrificing my true wealth: my family.
On my 40th birthday, I recall feelings of anger, rejection, frustration, and not having the success I longed for. I bitterly concluded the hindering factor had to be my wife, Jimmie Ruth (Genesis 3:12). We had been married 18 years, but I now found our relationship dull and boring. We didn’t fight. There just wasn’t any emotional connection.
Our family started using the hair styling services of a woman in our church. One day I visited the shop in her home for a haircut. As she completed the job, she gently caressed me and this action sparked the fire of lust within me to become fully kindled. The iniquity I hid in my heart now erupted into a blazing fire. We met next day, determined to divorce our mates and continue this abundant life our sinful hearts craved.
I reached out to a high profile Christian counselor who was convinced God was setting me free from the bondage of my marriage and giving me someone more suited to my needs. This counselor encouraged me to move in with my new "flame" and learn from her. He used Bible verses like Mark 10:29-30 to convince me (Romans 7:8 and 11).
My new heartthrob easily obtained her divorce. However, I ran into a brick wall: a wife who believed, by the inspiration of God, that a covenant marriage meant, "until death do us part". She refused to cooperate or sign anything. I tried to convince her that I was committing adultery and she had biblical grounds to divorce me. But Jimmie Ruth had already examined the so-called "Exception Clause" (Matthew 5:32 and 19:9). She concluded this was written to a Jewish culture with betrothal customs. (During the year of betrothal, if there was unfaithfulness, the betrothed could obtain a divorce). Joseph and Mary were such an example (Matthew 1:18-25). The Scriptures state: "except it be for fornication" (not adultery). Even though many Christian friends, out of sympathy for Jimmie Ruth, thought my adultery was grounds for divorce, she stood firm on her conviction: the covenant vows of marriage united us as "one flesh" until one of us died.
I blamed my wife for my adultery at this point; after all, if I could get a legal document of divorce in my hand, then my new relationship would cease to be adultery. Or would it? (Mark. 10:11-12, Luke 16:18)
The other woman and I moved in together. She helped soothe my conscience by telling me she heard "the voice of God". I now know it was a form of control and manipulation, not God at all. "The voice" told us to move to Florida and we did! The "voice" in her often prophesied to me things which did come to pass. (Demons have power to deceive, so fulfillment of a prophesy is significant only if it agrees fully with the Word of God. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, II Thessalonians 2:9). The lack of righteousness in my heart gave power to the deception of sin working also in her.
She prophesied that a millionaire would come into our lives and provide everything we needed for a new life, a new marriage and a new ministry. And it happened! The millionaire placed into my hands keys to a new car, keys to a condo on an exquisite golf course and keys to a church which I would pastor (in spite of my adultery). He also financed Christian television programs for us at a well-known TV facility. I could involve any woman I chose to "marry".
Still my wife continued faithful, praying a hedge of protection around me, and trusting in her God.
The youngest daughter of this woman lived with us. Each night I would tuck her in bed, pray with her and play the role of a "Christian" father while committing adultery with her mother (INSANITY!) Rom.7:22,23. At the same time, I had forsaken my own two children, Mark and Melody. I was worse than an infidel (I Timothy 5:8). I had misplaced my passion and was controlled by my emotions. My focus was inward and selfish, not on the Word of God nor my family (II Timothy 3:1-7).
One evening, this child prayed "Dear Jesus, make Jimmie Ruth so sick that she will sign the divorce papers so we can be a family." Within hours of that prayer, my wife, who had been in perfect health, was rushed into emergency surgery. A large portion of her intestines had to be removed and she was not expected to live through the night. Still she clung faithfully to her covenant promise "until death do us part".
The day following my wife’s surgery, this woman’s first-born teenage son, who had also been in perfect health, was rushed to another hospital across town. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The woman was convinced it was the work of a demon sent by my wife. However, she stubbornly refused to repent of her own sin (Revelation 2:18-23). Several months later, her son, a godly young man, died. She had prophesied that I would one day adopt him; his name would have been Jimmy Matthews (like my wife’s name)! The blinder’s covering the eyes of my spirit were being removed. I started seeing glimpses of the deception. The curse was being broken.
Gradually, I realized I had to start obeying the Word of God, not just what felt good to me. The softening of my heart (Matthew 19:8) caused me to turn toward Melody, my daughter, and her graduation (Malachi 4:5-6). On my arrival, I found she had lined our driveway with yellow ribbons to welcome her daddy home. I went to my son Mark and asked him to forgive me. He gave me a casual "sure" that probably matched the initial sureness of my repentance, but both have become more solid over these many years. My wife, by God’s mercy, was still standing where she had stood when she uttered those vows on December 28, 1962 faithful to her God and to her covenant. The process started: I confessed, turned and forsook my sin and received God’s mercy (Proverbs 28:13).
On a cold winter’s day, I sought for the grave of that godly young son. Kneeling in the snow, I asked God why He did not take my life instead of his. The boy was innocent I was the guilty one! Finally I found some comfort in the thought that he was now in God’s presence. Then the scripture came to me, "The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife." (I Corinthians 7:14). My wife’s faithfulness kept me separated unto God, as well as to our children.
At the first, as we sought to restore our lives together, Jimmie Ruth and I did not have warm, "fuzzy"emotions; but in the fear of the Lord, we began rebuilding our marriage. Each began taking personal responsibility for our individual walk with God. We made an investment of putting effort behind right actions to each other, which will always lead to healed emotions over time.
The process has been long and painful, but I can honestly say, the results are well worth the effort. My daily life now swims in peace; and the joyful sounds of happy, healthy grandchildren are the fruit of God’s mercy added to my obedience. Our son and daughter have chosen to forgive and love their repentant dad. I have a place called "home" (the same one I tried to throw away!) and that home is filled with all precious and pleasant riches (Proverbs 24:3-4). I have a wife who loves me in a way few men will ever be loved: a wife who is willing even to die if necessary in order to be faithful and keep covenant. AND I ALMOST THREW IT ALL AWAY!
Precious ones, if the fires of bitterness and lust consume your life too, turn to Jesus! See the pure fire in His eyes. Turn from your selfishness (II Timothy 3:1-5). Receive the mercy and forgiveness Jesus Christ has provided when we confess and forsake our sin. Don’t be deceived: adulterers cannot inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10). The fires of greed, bitterness and lust will destroy life. The fires of faith, hope and love will purify life and produce true wealth. If you turn your heart fully toward the Lord Jesus Christ, you will know what perfect love is (I John 4:17-18).
Lorne H. Matthews
TO GET THE FULL IMPACT OF THIS TESTIMONY, PLEASE READ THE SUGGESTED SCRIPTURES IN THE KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE.