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Into Action Page 3
We thought he ought to be willing to do that if necessary,
but if he were in jail he could provide nothing for either family. We
suggested he write his first wife admitting his faults and asking forgiveness.
He did, and also sent a small amount of money. He told her what he would
try to do in the future. He said he was perfectly willing to go to jail
is she insisted. Of course she did not, and the whole situation has only
since been adjusted. Before taking drastic action which might implicate
other people we secure their consent. If we have obtained permission,
have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is
indicated we must not shrink.
This brings to mind a story about one of our friends. While drinking,
he accepted a sum of money from a bitterly-hated business rival, giving
him no receipt for it. He subsequently denied having received the money
and used the incident as a basis for discrediting the man. He thus used
his own wrong- doing as a means of destroying the reputation of another.
In fact, his rival was ruined.
He felt that he had done a wrong he could not possibly make right. If
he opened that old affair, he was afraid it would destroy the reputation
of his partner, disgrace his family and take away his means of livelihood.
What right had he to involve those dependent upon him? How could he possibly
make a public statement exonerating his rival?
After consulting with his wife and partner he came to the conclusion that
it was better to take those risks than to stand before his Creator guilty
of such ruinous slander. He saw that he had to place the outcome in God's
hands or he would soon start drinking again, and all would be lost anyhow.
He attended church for the first time in many years. After the sermon,
he quietly got up and made an explanation. His action met widespread approval,
and today he is one of the most trusted citizens of his town. This all
happened years ago.
The chances are that we have domestic troubles. Perhaps we are mixed up
with women in a fashion we wouldn't care to have advertised. We doubt
if, in this respect, alcoholics are fundamentally much worse that other
people. But drinking does complicate sex relations in the home. After
a few years with an alcoholic, a wife get worn out, resentful and uncommunicative.
How could she be anything else? The husband begins to feel lonely, sorry
for himself. He commences to look around in the night clubs, or their
equivalent, for something besides liquor. Perhaps he is having a secret
and exciting affair with "the girl who understands." In fairness
we must say that she may understand, but what are we going to do about
a thing like that? A man so involved often feels very remorseful at times,
especially if he is married to a loyal and courageous girl who has literally
gone through hell for him.
Whatever the situation, we usually have to do something about it. If
we are sure our wife does not know, should we tell here? Not always, we
think. If she knows in a general way that we have been wild, should we
tell her it detail? Undoubtedly we should admit our fault. She may insist
on knowing all the particulars. She will want to know who the woman is
and where she is. We feel we ought to say to her that we have no right
to involve another person. We are sorry for what we have done and, God
willing, it shall not be repeated. More than that we cannot do; we have
no right to go further. Though there may be justifiable exceptions, and
though we wish to lay down no rule of any sort, we have often found this
the best course to take.
Our design for living is not a one-way street. It is as good for the wife
as for the husband. If we can forget, so can she. It is better, however,
that one does not needlessly name a person upon whom she can vent jealousy.
Perhaps there are some cases where the utmost frankness is demanded. No
outsider can appraise such an intimate situation. It may be that both
will decide that the way of good sense and loving kindness is to let by-gones
be by-gones. Each might pray about it, having the other one's happiness
uppermost in mind. Keep it always in sight that we are dealing with that
most terrible human emotion, jealousy. Good generalship may decide that
the problem be attacked on the flank rather than risk a face-to- face
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