People enjoy watching the cheater get what is coming to them. It is poetic justice. We all feel good, and amused. This takes strength, courage, and an iron will to shame another human for the error of their ways.
Look what is celebrated in social media (warning: explicit language).
The following link to Distractify, lists images of vengeful retaliation
against cheaters: http://distractify.com/alex-scola/cheaters-never-prosper/
Only the brave follow this course of action. The weak ones cower back into a corner of darkness...or do they?
My wife and I are presently talking to/encouraging/praying for/mentoring a married couple who is struggling with the concept of forgiveness vs. the popular choice - divorce after infidelity.
Interesting that it is the offender/cheater in that situation who is fighting and wrestling with the idea of whether or not to separate/divorce. This is partially spurned by the questions: What will my friends think of me? How will others view me? What are the opinions of those around me? My situation was the same - I wrestled with the idea of staying together vs. divorcing. Thank God that my mind and heart were softened and I decided to fight for my marriage.
There is some kind of social stigma associated with staying in a particular situation after you've boldly announced your plans to the contrary. There is a fear that others will view you as weak because you have changed your mind.
Consider what weakness is. Weakness implies helplessness and a lack of strength. Other people's opinions are only that, opinions. Their thoughts on the matter, remain as important as the color of a woman's lipstick on any given day. It might look good for a few moments. It might even compliment an item of clothing that she's wearing. However, at the end of the day, it will be removed and forgotten about. The woman is still who she was before the lipstick was ever applied. She will remain who she is, long after the lipstick has been removed. So it is with opinions. The person who bears the weight of another person's opinion will remain the same person long after the opinion has faded.
Once we learn to stand with integrity, in the face of opposition, and fight for what is truly right, regardless of flailing and ever-changing opinions, we have done something noble.
Which of these seems like it takes less strength:
1. Walking away and throwing in the towel because a challenge or obstacle has been placed in your path.
2. Digging in your heels, bracing yourself, pressing forward into the face of the storm in order to fight for something you believe in.
Which option would a wimp choose? Which option would a warrior choose? How many champions in history acted bravely, or nobly by walking away when difficulties stared them in the face?
Which option seems like an act of bravery:
1. Saving face at all costs.
2. Standing for what is right, regardless of opinions that attempt to sway your decision.
If you are standing for the truth expressed in God's Word (the Bible), remember this:
are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil
against you because of me [Jesus]. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your
reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were
before you." (Matt 5:11-12)
I've heard the phrase, "Choose your battles." I know that a marriage is something worth fighting for.
Monday, May 18, 2015
My wife and I have encountered a young couple who is in the midst of the battle over infidelity vs. fighting for their marriage. I wanted to post the email I sent to the husband this morning, but didn't want to do so without his permission.
One comment the wife in that situation made regarding her own sinful choices, her low self image, and her identity was, "Once a cheater, always a cheater." That's how she views herself.
I used to believe that as well.
When I confessed the names of the women I'd cheated with, I wasn't ready for my wife to offer forgiveness. Not only was my self image low, but I sincerely despised myself as a person. I actually spoke these words to my wife, "If I stay- If I'm forced to stay, I'll continue this pattern. I will cheat again. It's the only way I can cope with this marriage." Oh my dear God forgive me for ever uttering those devastating words. I'm broken, just reading those words again. I'm so disappointed in myself for allowing such darkness to guide my words and actions. I was so wrong. Those words were whispered into my ear by the father of lies.
There is more to say about the specific ways a cheater who has either confessed, or who has been caught responds, but I want to stay focused here on the aspect of one's name and identity.
I am here to say that the common label, promising relapses or continual sinful choices is incorrect.
"Once a cheater, always a cheater," is another lie. Don't let that lie set a course for you to follow. In Christ Jesus, we are transformed. We have been given a NEW NAME! I am no longer labeled or called, "Cheater." I am now called, "Redeemed." There are two passages in the Bible that talk about the concept of being given a new name. One is Revelation 2:17, the other is the short chapter of Isaiah 62. I encourage you to read those two passages and rejoice in your new name.
I've also included a video by MercyMe, entitled "Greater" that talks about this very subject.
Do you believe that your past or even present choices define you? Listen to the Word of God, and find renewed hope through faith in Christ Jesus!
Monday, May 11, 2015
I have a heavy heart as I write this post. Although this blog is fairly new, I have already been contacted by several women who have told me their stories. These women are seeking guidance and counsel about their present situations.
Infidelity and divorce are an epidemic problem.
There are many, many things I could say about the issue in general, but analysis is not what is needed in this moment. In this moment, I implore you to earnestly seek the Lord in prayer. I'm not asking you to continue reading, close the tab, look up something else... I'm asking you to get off of your chair, kneel down (or lie down face first), and cry out to God on behalf of broken marriages - right now.
Intercede for spouses who have experienced the pain of betrayal. Lift them up before the Throne of Grace. Ask the Holy Spirit to minister directly to their wounded hearts. Ask Him to give the peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of of a heavy storm.
Pray for courage as spouses dig their heels in and fight for their marriages, rather than taking the common road of divorce.
Pray for the spouses who are either in an extramarital affair right now, or who are tempted to seek one out. Pray that the Holy Spirit slaps some sense into them. Pray that they are brought to their knees, and humbled. Pray earnestly that they choose true repentance. Pray that they make the decision to end any and every compromising relationship with members of the opposite sex immediately. Remember the vows we took, "forsaking all others?"
I know that the power of prayer works! I am a living testimony to that fact. If you haven't read my post, "Stop Praying For Me," I would encourage you to do so (after you've prayed).
Share this with your friends who are prayer warriors. Share this with your friends who don't know what they should pray about. Share this with your friends who need a mission and purpose. Let us join together in prayer.
These verses came to mind as I wrote this:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9)
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
I received an email from a woman who has been married 10 years. Her husband began cheating on her within the first year of their marriage. I've changed her name to protect her privacy. I also have not included her message, other than one small quote, again to protect her privacy. This was my response to her.
Thank you for your message.
I agree with you that what you see when men (or women) cheat is evil. That evilness is called sin. We are all sinful (Romans 3:23). The Bible says, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts--murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander" (Matt 15:19). So the Word of God also calls sexual impurity and impure thoughts evil.
However, as followers of Christ (meaning, as a sinful and evil person who has repented, been forgiven, and saved by grace), we have to make a choice how we're going to look at/view other sinful/evil people.
If we are to be followers and imitators of Christ (Eph 5:1), we have to consider the way He views us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That's the way He demonstrated His love for us (Romans 5:8). That means, while we were in the midst of our sinful behavior, He looked on us with love and compassion. As He saw us in our sin, He willingly laid down His life for us so that we could have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him.
If we follow that model, we are able to look at our fellow sinful human beings with love and compassion.
Not only does He look at cheaters, adulterers, sexual offenders, and predators with love and compassion, He also looks at members of ISIS and other terrorist groups with love and compassion. Terrorists are evil. We as people look at them with hatred, rage, disgust, and with vengeful eyes. But Christ died for those people as well. He died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6, 1 Peter 3:18).
Cheating is a terrible crime against someone that you love. It rips apart a covenant marriage that has been consecrated before God. Cheating destroys so many things: trust, security, self-image, self-worth, and self-value.
You said that when you think your husband is a "Devil inside, suffering the life he really wants to be with me and pretend he is ok not sleeping with other women." Just remember what I've already pointed out - Christ loved your husband enough to die for him. That's the value He placed on your husband.
I can't speak for your husband, but my wife has asked me so many times, "Are you just staying with me because it's the 'morally right' thing to do?" My heart aches when she does that. My personal answer is, "No, I'm not staying with you because it's the right thing to do. I'm staying with you because I've repented (meaning I've turned away) from my stupid and sinful choices. I'm staying with you because I truly love you. I'm staying with you because I finally realize that I have enough value and worth for you to fight for me. I believe and trust that I am not worthless. In that, I don't want to continue to destroy everything good in my life. I want to fight for us now." No matter what, the bottom line is, it won't be an easy fix.
Jennifer, I don't know your husband's history. I don't know what triggered his choices of unfaithfulness in your marriage. But I do know that even though you have chosen to remain married, it sounds like you haven't fully forgiven him. I think that in full forgiveness, you wouldn't view him as a "Devil." Full forgiveness doesn't mean you'll forget what he's done either. Trust has to be rebuilt.
Integrity and accountability are vitally important to rebuilding trust. I'm going to post about those subjects next week. I'll be praying for you.
God bless you