Bitterness And Adultery

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral…. – Hebrews 12:14-16a, NIV

An important part of forgiveness is letting go of past wrongs and handing them over to God entrusting God to do the right thing with them being just and wise. This is important process to engage in doing or you might find yourself growing a root of bitterness where past events continue to control your future imprisoning you in pain and resentment.

God has a better future for you than that.

That said, bitterness is often a charge used against faithful spouses to silence them or minimize what was done to them. It is leveled to discredit their voice by subtly calling them a bad Christian for exposing the unsightly horror of what was done to them.

I do not consider someone bitter who calls sin, sin.

And I do not consider someone bitter who shares the facts of what happened to them.

They are no more bitter than a rape survivor is bitter for stating she was raped pressing charges on her rapist.

In a world filled with adultery apologists, stating the wrongness and the facts of adultery’s negative impact is much needed. Like rape, adultery starts to lose its luster in the light of its destructive impact on lives. I see that as a very good thing. God knew what He was doing when He prohibited adultery for His people.

As I have stated before about forgiveness, forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is not minimizing. And forgiveness does not mean reconciliation or restoration.

I have forgiven my former spouse. But we will never be remarried. I have forgiven my former spouse. But what she did to me was utterly sinful and wrong. I have forgiven my former spouse. But I will never forget the look on her face when she lied to me about her infidelity nor the way I felt upon learning she was having extramarital sex. Those memories among others will be with me until I die.

And that is okay.

Our memories teach us important things. They are valuable. They have given me a court side view into the horrors of adultery and provided insight into God’s heart towards His adulterous people–i.e. us.

Now, if you are using every waking moment to plot your revenge on your spouse, I would say you have a long way to go in the forgiving process and finding freedom from bitterness.

However, if you think the adultery committed against you was wrong and all the humiliation you experienced through it was infuriating, then I do not consider you bitter. You’re real. It is healthy to be angry at boundary violations and sin.

For the bitter-baiters out there, I wonder why they so indifferent to adultery. Why aren’t they filled with righteous indignation over such grievous sin?

That’s the real question here as I see it.

God is holy and calls His people to holiness.

Do you think He is emotionally neutral about adultery?

When God vividly and with much anger calls out Israel over her adulteries, I wonder if bitter-baiters think God is bitter, too.

Forgive and be not bitter, yes.

But, also, do not minimize sin.

Be holy.


1 thought on “Bitterness And Adultery”

  1. I would add that the first quest should not be “are they bitter?” When someone is sharing their story and you can tell they’ve been hurt, they’re upset, maybe they’re swearing, saying mean things, whatever it is; if you’re first thought is “boy they’re bitter” I’d wager you’re not approaching it from the right angle. Leading with that conclusion means you’ve just written them off, you’re not/are no longer listening and you’ve just gone off on your own separate agenda. Whatever it is that they’re expressing has made you uncomfortable, to which you respond by overwriting whatever it is they said with your own conclusion that makes you feel less uncomfortable. The first response, especially when first meeting them/hearing their story, should be “they’ve been hurt, it’s understandable to be upset about this.” The grieving continuum is just that, a continuum. It’s really easy to instantly jump to “they’re bitter” b/c their grieving process is different than yours or took longer and come in with “turn the other cheek” or “you need to be holy”. Recognize and affirm healthy anger.

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