Daily Devotional for Monday July 7, 2008
Perhaps there is no subject more personal, more emotional, and more difficult to deal with than that of a spouse who cheats. First of all, there is absolutely NO justification for cheating on your spouse. Point blank. It is a sin in God's eyes. Man has tried in his own feeble way to categorize sin. Bad sins, and really bad sins. Sin is sin in the eyes of God, no matter what it involves, since sin is an act of rebellion towards God.
There is no arguing however, because of the intimate and sensitive nature of adultery, it is a highly visible sin because of the raw emotions involved. Having laid that foundation, let me look for a minute at this topic from both sides. That of the person who has committed adultery, and that of the spouse who has been cheated on.
First of all, for anyone who has committed adultery, you have to understand some basic issues. First is that what you have done is a sin in God's eyes, no matter how you may try to justify or spin it. There is NO circumstance that makes adultery acceptable. Second, anyone who has been involved in this type of behavior knows deep down inside the incredible price you end up paying, for what boils down to a few moments of pleasure. Like all sin, you pay a very high price for what you end up receiving.
Having dealt with this issue in literally thousands of cases over the years, I can assure you that there is NEVER a positive ending. These relationships, due to the foundation on which they are built, never last long, and if they do, are never filled with the joy and peace life has to offer. Remember, God cannot and will not bless sin. So you go off into this new relationship on a foundation of sin and deceit, without the blessings of God. How can you ever expect it to work?!
So what is the answer? Simple. Repent, get right with God, and then begin the long, long process of getting back into a correct relationship with your spouse. This will take lots of time, lots of effort, and things will never be 100% the way they were before. However, God can heal and help you and your spouse find His peace and love again to live many happy years together. It is not hopeless.
But you have to be willing to repent, get right with God, and then take the steps necessary to get right with your spouse. God is able to do all things, and you will need His help and strength each step of the way, but He will honor your commitment. Don't give up, that is what the enemy wants you to do.
For the spouse that has been cheated on, it becomes a time for you to find a level of faith and trust in God you never experienced before. Because of the deep hurt and wounds, God is your only source of strength during this time. While the Bible in the New Testament does give a scriptural "out" in a marriage when adultery is involved, the reading of the complete Word still proclaims it is God's plan for one man, one woman, one lifetime. That must be your goal.
You will need to spend much time in prayer for your spouse. They need your prayers to overcome the wrongs they have done. You will need to spend much time in prayer with the Lord to keep in focus that you are loved. Many spouses who have been cheated on feel that they are to blame. Listen. You CANNOT control the actions of your spouse. You CANNOT be responsible for what they do. Quit blaming yourself for their actions! Know that in Christ you are loved and worthy.
Lastly, you will need LOTS of prayer to have a forgiving heart. This, of course, is the most difficult hurdle to overcome. It is not possible in our strength. Only God can give you a forgiving heart to go on. Ultimately, the key will be in your focus on the Lord. Your faith, your trust in the Lord will be tested and stretched. It is in times like this when your faith becomes very real.
There is absolutely no way in just a few paragraphs I can deal with an issue like this that can fill a library full of books. I have tried to give you the bottom line from both sides of this issue. It will all boil down to each spouse's commitment to the Lord to overcome this part of your life. The cheating individual will need the Lord to overcome the sin committed and get back into a right relationship with the spouse, and the spouse will need the Lord to overcome the intense emotions and feelings to allow the spouse back into a place of trust in the relationship.
There is no way things can ever be the same again; however, the Lord is still in the healing business, and He can help work things out so there is still a loving, fruitful relationship for many years to come. The key is trusting God and not giving up.
I love you, and I care about you deeply. I realize from all of the emails we get each day how prevalent this issue is. I will be praying for you today, both those who have committed adultery and those spouses who have been cheated on. I realize the heartache and pain you are going through. If I can help in any way, don't hesitate to email me; I will do my best. I cannot do marriage counseling over email, but I can pray and give some basic direction.
My main point today is that God is still on the throne, He is still in control, and despite our rebellion.....He will have the final word. Jesus said, "be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." That includes the sins in this world like adultery.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller