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You may either have heard from your spouse that they have been having an affair, or you may have found out on your own. Either way, your spouse is cheating and your going nuts. You might feel like you are falling apart. Since your other half is trying to separate from you, it should make perfect sense. You might feel angry, hurt, or even nothing at all.
The truth is that it’s ok to feel any, or even all, of that. But, remember that emotions change with time and circumstance. You will not always feel these things. But, you do have some choices to make about your future.
What your spouse has done is hurting you, and by all accounts, this is not loving. If it were something small, something you find annoying, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But, this cuts deep.
So, what are your choices at this point? If your spouse is repentant then you can try to move past this. Or, you can walk away.
Don’t fool yourself! Each option has its ups and its downs.
18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Let’s define adultery and fornication.
Adultery – Leviticus 20:10 and Ezekiel 16:32 says adultery is having sex with someone married to another. If one person is single, yet has sex with another married person, they have committed adultery. Adultery is the theft of what belongs to another, in the sense of our bodies. An emotional affair is also another subject that we will talk about in a different article.
Fornication – The Bible describes fornication as being sex (becoming as one) with another in an unlawful way.
1 Corinthians 6:16-18
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
Here we see that fornication is like adultery since it involves sex (though 1 Corinthians shows it in more of a spiritual light) with someone other than your spouse.
It can also happen when there is no spouse involved at all, though. This is because God has designed male and female to be joined together, as one. Joining a male with a male is an abomination and sin according to the Bible, and is, thus, fornication.
And, since a prostitute has many people they join with, they are also committing adultery. They are leaving the last person that they were “one” with to go on to the next.
So, Jesus has said that if you divorce your spouse, for any reason other than that of adultery, and were to remarry it is adultery. This is because you are still one flesh with the original spouse.
Remember that the key here is in understanding that adultery is fornication, except for the fact that there is a marriage involved. So ANY unlawful sex is adultery.
Here is what the Bible says about infidelity and divorce:
In the case of a spouse who has committed adultery, Jesus has made it clear that you are within your rights to divorce them. But they have already taken that step themselves in breaking away from you to go to another, as said in Isaiah.
Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
The Positives of This Choice
If your spouse is not willing to repent then this may be the easiest option. In fact, it may be the only option left for you at some point. This frees you to seek another spouse, who may be better to you.
The Negatives of This Choice
Though it may be easier than fighting for your marriage, it will be throwing away all your work that you have put into making your marriage work. It’s throwing in the towel, rather than continuing the fight.
If you are in ministry then it may also prevent you from service. This is due to a misunderstanding that many people have about divorced pastors. Since 1 Timothy 3:2 says, “a Bishop must be the husband of one wife” many assume that a divorced husband who remarries does not meet this rule.
Of course, this is a mistake on their part. Paul wasn’t even married and had no children to keep under subjection. Yet, he was one of the greatest leaders of the church. Still, you will have to face the consequence of this.
So you have to make the decision. Do you have the strength to fight and regain your spouse (as God fought to redeem us)? Or, do you feel that they are unrepentant and will continue to be that way? Can you let them go (as God also will do at the time of judgment)?
Though you are well within your rights to divorce from your spouse, there is another option. You can choose to fight for your marriage and redeem it.
Redemption is something that God loves. While you may be in your rights to divorce, and it would not be wrong in any way to God, there is still something better. Even as we have walked away from God, time and again, we still find God reaching out to us, willing to forgive and to take us back.
Let me be clear about this … you do not have to take them back, but you will need to forgive them IF they repent.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
The thing about forgiveness that many people do not understand is that it doesn’t mean you have to forget. Or, act as though whatever happened is OK. It only means you will not, , carry out vengeance upon that person. You cancel the debt that they owe to you.
Also, God never forgives the unrepentant. So don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have to either.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
If you are going to fight for your marriage then two things need to happen, before you can even begin to fight.
First, your spouse needs to come to you and repent. Meaning, they need to turn away from the affair and never go back.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Words are cheap, but actions speak volumes. As I tell people many times, you can tell me that you repent, and it may be true, but I need to see the fruit of it in your life. And, fruit takes some time to produce.
So give your spouse time to prove to you that they are repentant. This may take some time, but should not take forever. You have to figure out how to know when fruit is showing. Here are some good indicators, though:
1.) Have they cut off all contact with the other person (even if they have to quit their job)?
2.) Have they committed to rebuilding trust with you by taking steps to avoid the possibility of another affair? You can see this in their efforts to speak with people of the opposite sex only when you are around, or when they are in public with others around.
Those are 2 fruits that you will be able to see very clearly, and you should take them as signs of repentance.
The second thing you must do after they repent is to forgive. You can hold off on any judgment calls when they tell you with their words that they repent until they produce fruit. If that fruit doesn’t come then you are dealing with someone who hasn’t repented.
If it does happen, then you can stop holding off on any judgment and forgive (cancel the debt). This doesn’t change what happened, but it does mean you will not hold a grudge. It means you will not bring it up to your spouse to hurt them.
You will have to make an effort to do this. It doesn’t come easy. But, you will have to be the strong one and have mercy. Remember that those who show mercy are stronger than those who do not.
After your spouse has shown these fruits of repentance, and you forgive them, you can begin work on rebuilding your marriage. You will both need to learn how to “affair-proof” your marriage. As you take that journey together you will build trust, and come out stronger in the end. If you both continue to produce this kind of fruit in your lives.
September 29, 2015 at 8:53 pm | | No comment