Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Judy Starr: As long as you keep things hidden in your mind, the fantasy can grow because it’s never exposed to the light.

Leslie Basham: Judy Starr was infatuated with a man who wasn’t her husband. She says secrecy helped fan the flame.

Judy: You can create all kinds of scenarios and fantasies you want to have happen. Because I never shared it with anyone at that point, my mind was just free to be rampant and run toward sin all it wanted.

Leslie Basham: It’s Monday, January 30th, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Because this week’s topic is more sensitive in nature, you might want to busy younger children somewhere away from the radio. Don’t forget you can always listen later at our website if you want to. Here’s Nancy to introduce our guests.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If you’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts for any length of time, you know that we try to tackle some of the real-life, tough issues that Christian women face today.

Over the next several days we’re going to be talking about one of those tough issues, but it’s something we’ve got to talk about, and that’s the whole issue of women and infidelity, women and sexual temptation and sexual sin.

We have two guests here to help us talk about that this week. One you’ve met before. Her name is Holly Elliff. Holly’s been a long-time, dear friend and confidant and partner in this ministry. Holly, thank you so much for being back with us on Revive Our Hearts with us today.

Holly Elliff: Glad to be here, Nancy.

Nancy: And we’re being joined by a good friend of yours and a friend of mine as well, Judy Starr. Judy, thank you for being a part of this discussion as well.

Judy Starr: Good to be here.

Nancy: You’re not as known to our listeners, but you’re a wife; your husband is Stottler Starr. You and Stottler have both been on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ for many years. You’re involved in a particular division of Campus Crusade . Tell us just a little bit about that.

Judy: We work with the Jesus Film project, and we do distribution of the film throughout parts of Asia and also all through Latin America.

Nancy: That’s a project that God has used in a significant way to take the gospel to now billions of people on this planet. You’ve written a book, Judy, called The Enticement of the Forbidden . It deals with the whole issue of women and sexual temptation, women and infidelity.

Now, when we bring up this subject, I think some people initially think that’s a man’s subject, that’s a man’s problem; but the fact is, it’s not just a man’s problem anymore, is it?

Judy: That’s right. We live in a new paradigm where infidelity is as much an issue for women as it is for men. In fact, the current statistics show that about 1 out of every 3-4 women are involved in some form of infidelity during their married life, whether that’s emotional infidelity or sexual infidelity or both.

Nancy: I remember reading one statistic that indicates that nearly 1 in 3 visitors to adult websites is a woman. We’re talking here about the issue of pornography as well—not just a man’s issue.

Judy: That’s right. It’s quite surprising to most people, but that’s truly what’s happening now.

Holly: I think one of the most amazing things about that is that the statistics are basically the same for women in the church and for the lost world. As a pastor’s wife, I’m seeing that in the counseling I do, and that is an amazing thing to me.

Nancy: I think that most married women who are sitting in churches here in this country—most of our listeners, for example—probably believe that they will never be attracted to another man, and certainly that they will never be involved in an affair. But that isn’t necessarily the case, is it?

Judy: No; I certainly never thought that would happen to me.

Nancy: And yet, as you share very honestly in your book, it is exactly what happened to you.

Judy: It is what happened.

Nancy: You’d been married five years; God has blessed you with a godly husband, and you must have been one of those women who were sitting there thinking, “I would never be attracted to another man or become involved in an affair.”

Judy: Oh, absolutely. I thought that was the last thing I would ever do, because I have such a wonderful husband. But we had come back from a very tiring trip where we had been working on a translation project.

We came back exhausted, and immediately I had to turn around and begin working on another project, putting this boat project together where we were showing the Jesus Film all through the Caribbean Islands.

So I was working long hours putting this project together. Since I was going to bed late, I would also get up late, and I started skipping my times with the Lord. And when I do that . . . as for anyone, our hearts become insensitive to the Lord’s leading, and we begin responding to temptations in the flesh.

Nancy: So here you are, visibly tired, under pressure, you’ve got a lot going on, you’re shortcutting your time with the Lord, you’re becoming spiritually less sensitive, and you end up on this boat project where you are, with a ministry team, going to be sharing the Jesus Film on these islands.

Judy: That’s right. As soon as we got to the Caribbean, I was exhausted physically, and spiritually I was hardened to the Lord because I hadn’t been spending time with Him. But as soon as I got on the boat, I realized within 48 hours that there was a strong attraction between the captain and myself. We shared a lot of common interests.

Nancy: And your husband was on this boat with you?

Judy: That’s correct.

Nancy: Yet you see this other man that you find yourself . . . was this like electricity going off?

Judy: That’s exactly right. It was a real sense of camaraderie, just an excitement to be with him. We shared so many common interests. He was a former professional musician; so am I. He loved sports, and so do I. So we just began spending a lot of personal time interacting, talking and sharing our hearts, and sharing our common interests.

Holly: Where was Stottler during all this time?

Judy : Stottler was right there on the project, right alongside me. He just assumed that it was someone else I was getting to know; he’s a very trusting husband and didn’t understand my propensity to be drawn toward this type of enticement of the forbidden, actually.

Holly: Actually, at that point you probably didn’t really understand how much in danger you were?

Judy: I didn’t. Now, in hindsight, I certainly see all the warning signs.

Nancy: So you began spending some significant time with the captain, just talking and getting to know each other?

Judy: That’s right. We spent quite a bit of time alone together. He was in charge of the sailing. I was in charge of the whole itinerary, so we spent a lot of time working on those things together alone, as well as we squeezed in some scuba diving time together.

Nancy: Wait, hold on. That scuba diving, that doesn’t sound work-related.

Judy: No, we squeezed in some fun time.

Holly: At any point in here did you have any red flags or flashing yellow lights going off in your head?

Judy: Oh, absolutely! In fact, I think within probably the first 48 hours when I sensed that attracted to him, I immediately had flags going off, because I was aware that that was something I shouldn’t pursue. Yet my heart was so spiritually insensitive because I hadn’t spent time with the Lord that I chose not to respond to God’s warning signs.

Holly: How did you rationalize that in your mind?

Judy: I think I probably just chose to ignore it more than anything, and just to plow on through and say, “This isn’t going to go anywhere. Of course, my husband is here. There’s no danger. We’re just talking. We’ve done nothing wrong. There’s no problem in pursuing just this friendship.”

Nancy: So you convinced yourself it was something really harmless?

Judy: I convinced myself originally, and I remember saying to myself, “Of course, there’s nothing that will happen here. There’s no physical relationship or anything, so this is fine, and I wouldn’t even want a physical relationship.” But as it proceeded, my mind and my heart began to change in that area.

Holly: And this happened pretty quickly in your mind and in your heart?

Judy: I would say within two months I had gone from saying, “I wouldn’t even want anything to happen here,” to thinking that that would be desirable.

Nancy: As a result, the emotions and the connection you were feeling there and the fantasy world you were living in began to intensify.

Judy: Absolutely. As long as you keep things hidden in your mind, the fantasy can grow because it’s never exposed to the light. You can create all kinds of scenarios and fantasies you want to have happen—because I never shared it with anyone at that point. But my mind was just free to be rampant and run toward sin all it wanted.

Holly: And you were still carrying on normal life with Stottler and your ministry stuff.

Judy: I was trying to.

Holly: You thought you were, anyway?

Judy: That’s right.

Nancy: So what was happening in the relationship with the captain?

Judy: It was continuing to grow. We were continuing to spend time together, and at one point I decided to reveal to him how I felt. So on one beautiful day in the Port of Guadalupe, we were on the deck alone together—I made sure that we had time alone together—and I just revealed to him how I felt and wanted to see if there was any reciprocal interest.

Well, he responded that he considered me untouchable at that point because of my husband, but he said if I was ever available that he might be interested. So my mind immediately went running to all the scenarios of what would happen if God took Stottler home, he died, we divorced . . . you know, what are the possibilities then?

Nancy: Well, obviously there’s more to the story, Judy, than we are going to have time to unfold today. I want to tell our listeners that Judy has written a book, The Enticement of the Forbidden . It tells us that there’s something very powerful she learned through this experience, and God was gracious to her. God did deliver her in this situation.

There are some very important steps that she ended up having to take in order to deal with the intensity and the emotion, and really the fireworks, the keg of dynamite that she was sitting on in that situation.

But I want to just harken back to something we said at the outset, and that is that no one is immune to the issue of sexual temptation and the potential for moral failure. The statistics bear it out, as do the e-mails that we’re receiving day after day.

If you are in a place where you’re saying, “This could never happen to me, I have a godly husband, I’m happily married,” . . . you are deceiving yourself if you think, “I could never be tempted to be attracted to a man who is not my husband.” In fact, if you think it couldn’t happen to you, that you couldn’t be tempted, you are a prime candidate to be tempted.

You may be a wife who is home during the day with your children, and your life is very busy, very full. You husband is very busy with his work. You may get to a point in your life where at some season you feel empty or neglected or lonely or tired, and you find yourself just getting engaged in conversation, seemingly innocent and harmless enough initially, with a soccer dad who’s watching his kid play soccer with your kid.

Or maybe you do find yourself for a time separated from your husband due to his job responsibilities, and in the process you meet someone attractive who you think could fill one of those empty places in your life.

Or maybe you are in a difficult marriage, and your husband is throwing words, hurtful words, at you like darts, and you need to realize that you may be vulnerable to some kind, tenderhearted man who will speak encouraging or affirming words to you.

There are so many different situations that could unfold; but the first step to being morally free, the first step to being victorious in your moral life and against sexual temptation, is to realize that it could happen to you. Every one of us—I need, Holly needs, Judy needs, and you need—the protection of God’s grace, God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s people. We need that protection every day and every season of our lives.

Leslie Basham: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Judy Starr, and Holly Elliff, reminding us that no marriage is immune from the potential of infidelity. Judy’s book is called The Enticement of the Forbidden, and you can order it from us here at Revive Our Hearts.

In it Judy speaks from her own experience, and she warns readers to steer clear of adulterous thoughts and actions. There’s also a workbook to go with her book. Again the title is The Enticement of the Forbidden . You can order either the book or the workbook from us by visiting www.ReviveOurHearts.com or by calling 1-800-569-5959.

Remember, Revive Our Hearts is a listener-supported ministry. That means we’re dependent on gifts from our listeners like you to sustain the work we do. So if you’ve benefited from the ministry of Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Revive Our Hearts , would you consider getting in touch with us and supporting us with a financial gift? We’d appreciate it. Nancy?

Nancy: Over these next several days we want to burst that belief that any marriage is immune to temptation. We also want to talk about how, before disaster strikes, you need to heed the warning signs that are posted all around you.

We’ll talk about what some of those warning signs are and how you can guard your heart, gird up your heart, and be prepared to face the temptation when it does come.

Leslie Basham: We hope you can join us for that. Thanks for listening today. We’ll see you again tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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