Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dear Jennifer,

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.

Hello Jennifer,
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

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