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FIRST-PERSON: Ask Kobe what he’s learning

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–When will we learn?

The instructions found in the Bible are more than a collection of ancient stories, wise sayings and good advice. The Bible is truth — period! As such, it is not only incredibly significant but it is also intensely relevant for all times and in all cultures. Those who dismiss or ignore the Bible’s truth do so at their own peril.

Just ask Kobe Bryant.

The clean-cut star of the National Basketball League’s Los Angeles Lakers recently admitted to an adulterous episode after he was charged with sexual assault. Responding to the legal allegation at a news conference Bryant said, “I sit in front of you guys, furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making the mistake of adultery.”

Only two people know what really took place on June 30 in Bryant’s room at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera located in Colorado — Bryant and his accuser. Very few details are known at this point. Either you have two people who chose to become physically intimate with one another just barely an hour after meeting — or you have a violent sexual assault. Neither is good.

One thing is certain: Someone is lying. I do not know which, and neither do you. Given the current state of our court system, we might never know who is really telling the truth. My point is not to comment on “he said, she said” but rather to underscore the Bible’s teaching on adultery is, as always, completely relevant.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume Kobe Bryant is telling the truth, that he and his accuser did indeed engage in consensual sex and thus defy the Bible’s prohibition against unmarried intimacy. At the time, Bryant probably thought, as a Proverb states, “Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” However, the sobering reality is that the woman Bryant was choosing to become intimate with was a complete and total stranger.

At the time of the “mistake of adultery,” Bryant knew nothing about the young lady he was having sex with. He never considered the following: What if she is a slick opportunist who sleeps with famous athletes only to seek money in exchange for keeping quiet about the liaison? What if she is a psychopathic stalker like the character Glen Close portrayed in the 1987 movie “Fatal Attraction?” What if she is infected with a sexually transmitted disease like herpes, syphilis or HIV? What if she wants to brag about having slept with an NBA superstar? What if she really only wants to have fun but later has regrets and feels the need to confess in an effort to salve her conscience? What if she accuses me of rape? If Bryant is telling the truth, then these thoughts must not have entered his mind — at least not seriously enough to sway his decisions and actions.

In the Book of Proverbs, the Bible counsels against adultery in the following fashion: “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not get burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?” (Proverbs 6:27-28). Of course the answer is no. The person who is unfaithful cannot escape being “burned” at some level.

There is a reason for the Bible’s prohibition concerning adultery. The truth is a man or a woman cannot engage in an illicit relationship without some negative after-effect. Adultery always results in some type of spiritual, emotional or physical trauma. At the very least, a person has his or her soul “smoke-stained.” At the very worst, well, ask Kobe Bryant. He might echo what the Bible says, “The one who commits adultery with a women is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it” (Proverbs 6:32).

When will we learn?
Boggs’ column appears each Friday in Baptist Press. He is pastor of Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore.

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  • Kelly Boggs