“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” -I Corinthians 6:15-17, NASB.
ADULTERY IS SOUL RAPE.
An unwanted violation of the faithful spouse’s soul.
A defiling of the oneness found in the marriage covenant by the unilateral choice of the cheater.
As this passage from I Corinthians makes very clear, infidelity is not just an act between the unfaithful spouse and the adultery partner. It not a simple matter of sex. The act is as graphic as forcing an unwanted partner upon your marriage partner. In this case, it was God being violated by the Corinthians with temple prostitutes.
Anyone who has discovered the infidelity or infidelities of his/her spouse can attest to how incredibly traumatic this experience is. They can probably tell you in vivid detail where they were when they made the grisly discovery–i.e. when their world was turned upside down and their sense of safety vanished.
At the time of its rawness, I remember thinking and describing it as if someone had reached into my heart and hollowed it out with a dull spoon to maximize the pain of the marital union rending. The pain was truly beyond words to capture. Soul rape merely begins to tell the tale of how horrible it felt.
It is absolutely awful.
I use these graphic words for a point.
First, I use them because I believe that they are the Biblical understanding of what takes place in adultery and form a basis for God’s hate of it. Adultery is serious business. God prohibits it in the Ten Commandments for very good reason. Anyone who minimizes adultery does not have the heart of God on the matter and is in dangerous water as such.
Second, I use the graphic terms of soul rape to provide a hopefully helpful metaphor for those who truly care for the wronged spouse.
Just as it is inappropriate and hurtful to ask a rape survivor what she was wearing when she was raped, it is inappropriate and hurtful to ask the wronged spouse what they had done in the marriage to cause this. A rape survivor does not cause her rape. An adultery survivor does not cause his spouse to commit adultery.
Wardrobe choices and marital skills may be good subjects to discuss in another setting. Not here. To discuss them with the rape or adultery present and not addressed is to blameshift onto the survivor. It is to suggest the survivor did something that makes him/her responsible for another’s sin against him/her. This is not Biblical. God did not tolerate it in Eden nor will God tolerate this on the Judgment Day. We are accountable for our own choices and actions and not another’s.
Another way the soul rape metaphor is helpful is exposing how unhelpful exploring the rationale behind the infidelity is without a crystal clear acceptance of full responsibility for the sin.
Does a messed up childhood excuse a pedophile for raping a child? Does a sex addiction make it okay to rape vulnerable women at night? Obviously, these histories do not. To use them as a defense is to seek to excuse and avoid responsibility for the poor choices made by this individual. No longer is it about the survivor and what was done to him/her, it is now about the perpetrator’s family of origin (FOO) issues, addictions, environment, etc.
Analogously, by focusing on the cheater’s FOO issues, environment, marital communication problems, etc, the choice to commit adultery is minimized. It is made to look inevitable or possibly even caused by the adultery survivor–i.e. more blameshifting. Thereby the survivor is brutalized again…this time possibly by well-meaning people.
Now, the exploration of environment, addictions, and/or FOO issues may be appropriate at some point. But the sin/crime needs to be dealt with first. The harm needs to cease. A message needs to sounded by pastors stating that they will not tolerate minimizing or blameshifting as it comes to such grievous sin. Adultery is not acceptable.
Someone has been raped–united with a prostitute against her wishes.
Let’s focus on protecting the survivor and then on helping the perpetrator own his/her sin so that they can find freedom from it.