Steve McNair, former Tennessee Titan and Baltimore Raven NFL quarterback, seemingly had it all. A loving family. A successful career. The respect of his peers and fans. A successful businessman. He was known for his charity work and made himself accessible to the public. Little did anyone know – not even his closest companions or his wife Mechelle – that McNair, affectionately known as MAC by his friends, had been seduced by sin and that his choice to embrace that seduction would leave behind a wake of devastation.

Six months prior to his murder, McNair met 20 year-old Sahel Kazemi at a sports cafe where his family often shared meals together. Details continue to emerge, but to date, we know very little about McNair’s relationship with Kazemi, other than the fact that his wife “didn’t know who this girl was” and very few of McNair’s associates knew about Kazemi either. What seems to be clear is that McNair was having, at the very least, an emotional affair with this young woman, only 3 years older than McNair’s oldest son.

Tragically, for McNair, the snare of this relationship led to his untimely death. McNair’s sexual appetite, like many before him, killed him, and his betrayal ruined the lives of many who knew and loved McNair. Hear the warning of Proverbs 7:21-27:

With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to slaughter; or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

There is no doubt that Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi probably never conceived that their forbidden relationship would literally cost them their lives. And yet it did. Even if, perhaps, this relationship had not ended so violently, it would not be any less of a tragedy. Had Kazemi just walked away from McNair rather than killing him when it became apparent he was not divorcing his wife, and even if her suspicions that he was perhaps having another extra-marital affair as reports now suggest were true, the devastation, though perhaps not as violent, would have been no less real, hurtful or destructive. Betrayal. Falsehood. Being used and abandoned. These sins plunge the souls of men into a deep darkness that many find difficult to ever escape.

We shouldn’t demonize either McNair or Kazemi. They both gave into their passions, and we aren’t exempt from their seduction. We should be mindful of the words of John Owen who asks, “What associates of Satan reside in your heart?” None of us are beyond the seduction of sexual sin, which is why the warning of Proverbs 7 is so poignant. It isn’t meant to be used to shame those who fallen into sexual sin; it is meant to warn us to avoid it. Sadly, we now have a modern-day picture of the devastation of sexual sin.

We aren’t immune to following in McNair’s footsteps. Our only hope to escape the dreaded curse of sin is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You may not be an adulterer or sexually immoral person. But your envy, covetousness, greed-driven materialism, lying tongue, disobedience to parents, idolatry, hatred for enemies, gluttony, and pride are no less than deadly than sexual sin. The snare of all sin leads to death, first spiritual, and then ultimately physical. The only way to escape this curse is by trusting in the curse-destroying, sin-killing work of Jesus Christ on the cross on behalf of sinners.

While a sad and tragic reminder of the consequences of sin, there is a grace given to humanity in the Steve McNair tragedy. We are a culture that so often trivializes and downplays the consequences of embracing our sexuality and sexual desires outside of God’s boundaries. We grieve with Mechelle McNair, her children, and the family of Sahel Kazemi because they are in the middle of a nightmare from which they will never wake. And we pray for God’s grace, mercy and compassion to be real to them during these difficult days. But for those of us who stand so distantly from this tragedy, let us not forget the warnings of Scripture. We should trifle with the seduction of sexual sin. The seduction is not always obvious. It often seems harmless. But in the end it leads to our destruction and the devastation of many lives. We would be mindful to unmask the potential consequences of our sin before we ever consider that the pleasure to be had is worth the risk of giving away everything for a few fleeting moments of carnality.

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