The video from a gas station surveillance camera shows the baffling details. 37-year-old Austin Dawkins was playing with a cigarette lighter and got too close to his gas tank as his 30-year-old wife, Jessica, stood beside him at his truck as he was pumping gas. Flames flare up, Jessica runs away, and Austin lifts the gas nozzle from tank. This sets his wife on fire, and she is seen running as the flames envelop her. She received second and third degree burns to her legs, arms, back, and head. Her husband was arrested and charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor. If he has a conscience, the far greater penalty will be shame, guilt, and regret at what his careless conduct did to his wife (www.myfoxatlanta.com, 11/2/13).
The macabre moments caught on video, showing the woman on fire, are graphic. No one can doubt the danger and seriousness of the situation. Spiritually, men and women so often play with fire unable to physically see the consequences of their actions. Whether allowing themselves to become romantically involved with someone other than their spouse or even courting temptation, they put themselves into a very precarious position. In the very context of this moral problem, Solomon writes, “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be burned? So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished” (Prov. 6:27-29). The Bible illustrates marital infidelity to playing with fire.
Perhaps one rationalizes indiscreet words, actions, or flirtations as harmless, innocent, and victimless. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The flames can spread beyond just the man and woman, doing harm to family, friends, and the church. It can ravage so many lives and leave the perpetrators with an enormous load of guilt. How much better and wiser to see adultery for the dangerous entity it is and leave it alone (cf. Prov. 6:32-33)?