For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
-Galatians 5:14-15, NKJV
It hard to be divorced and live in the evangelical, Christian community.
Because “The Shared Responsibility Lie” is so prevalent, it makes identifying as “divorced” like making a statement that one is a moral failure in some way–if only partially.
You must have done something to “deserve” being divorced, right?! Wrong.
This is the main reason why I feel internally “compelled ” to blurt out that my first marriage ended with my ex-wife’s cheating. At least, some Christians understand enough Scripture not to blame a faithful spouse under those circumstances. (And for those who do not, their fellowship does not really matter to me.)
Just as I do not always share all my life or family details, I do not always share this aspect of my life history. The setting matters. Not everyone is worthy of hearing my story (or yours).
However, I do believe to have real fellowship in Christian community one needs to share knowledge of that important, albeit ugly, life chapter. Plus, I have found that sharing it opens the way to connect with other divorced individuals or their supporters who are more shy about sharing their stories or the similar stories of loved ones.
Sharing our infidelity survival story helps foster community.
And it dispels shame. Divorce shame. Shame that divides and separates us.
This is another reason why I am opposed to keeping silent about this part of my history:
Silence only breeds isolation and shame. It is corrosive to community.
By sharing, we invite people into our lives.
This is the last thing Satan wants–i.e. Christians sharing their hearts, lives, and connecting in deep community. So, He designed “The Unforgiving Lie” charge to silence faithful spouses who might dare share the historical fact that they survived their previous spouses’ adulterous betrayals.
So, please share your infidelity survival story as invited. Christians who truly love you will want to know what has formed you into who you are today and surviving infidelity is an important chapter in that book. On the other hand, those who are quick to label you unforgiving are immature and lack a proper understanding of godly forgiveness. True forgiveness is not about denying historical facts, after all.
It happened. And it is not your shame to bear.