Are you familiar with the song “Just Once?” I am quite sure this was one of the most requested songs during the height of its popularity. It remains so today – in videoke bars.
But are you familiar with the phrase “just this once”?
Just this once.
It’s like a love song – it’s so enticing.
Just this once.
It’s tempting. It carries an air of mystery.
Evil seems exciting. The Book of Proverbs even says, “Stolen water is sweet…”
- Just this once… No one would know. The company is making a lot of money anyway, so what’s wrong with pocketing a little loose change here and there?
- Just this once… It’s just one drag. It’s just one sip. Can this tiny little pill really destroy my entire life?
- Just this once… These company rules and regulations are stupid! They think they’ve got everything covered, well let me prove them, wrong!
- Just this once… This will bring some badly-needed excitement to my boring marriage. Besides, all the guys in the office are doing it anyway.
Hilde Houlding, coordinator of the Calgary Family Service Bureau’s counseling division, describes an affair in this way:
“An affair is often an attempt to find a little bit of paradise on the side, pursuing the belief that if one just finds the right sexual partner there will be instant happiness and everything will fall into place. An affair is often able to fulfill this myth until it itself becomes a relationship that has to be worked at and looked at in a long-term light. Seen in this way “paradise” soon becomes a prison.”
“Yeah, I know dude. This is why I go for one-night-stands and casual sex.”
But sex is never casual. And casualness towards the sacred leads to casualty towards the important.
Just this once is a very dangerous phrase to use. Just this once will have consequences.
Great men and personalities of the Bible have also succumbed to temptation:
With Jacob, it was deception.
With Moses, it was murder.
With Samson, it was recurring lust.
With Elijah, it was deep depression.
With Peter, it was public denial.
With Thomas, it was cynical doubting.
And all of them had to face the consequences of their compromise.
We can find 2 kinds of people in Scriptures. There are those whose examples we may emulate, and there are those whose actions we should keep from doing ourselves.
One thing I’ve noticed is that, opportunity may knock on our doors just once, but temptation bangs on our gates constantly. Earl Wilson beautifully says it this way: “Ever notice that the whisper of temptation can be heard farther than the loudest call to duty?”
There is no shortcut to the path of success. The process of getting there is more important than being there.
Yet even those who have committed grave mistakes can receive forgiveness from God as they repent and trust Him, just like the Bible personalities I’ve mentioned. Because God is the God of second chances. With Him, it’s never too late to have a brand new beginning.
With Him, marriages can be restored, a tarnished name can be redeemed, estranged loved ones can be won over. The healing and restoration begin when the offender says, “I am sorry, please forgive me” no matter what the response of the other party is. Perhaps, it is only in this context that “just this once…” becomes an appropriate thing to say.