“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
-Matthew 23:15, NIV
Public Service Announcement:
Faithful spouses, you don’t have to become BFFs with your cheating ex in order to be right with God!
I made it clear with my cheating (now) ex-wife that we would not be friends anymore if she refused to repent of her infidelity. She chose to continue cheating and lying. Hence, we are no longer friends. It really is that simple.
-This does not make me a “bad Christian.”
-It does not mean I am bitter.
-And it does not mean I harbor “unforgiveness” in my heart.
It just means she is outside my friend circle now. I do not include individuals in the category of “friend” who deal treacherously with me and demonstrate through word plus deed that they have no interest in repairing our relationship after such behavior. The proper label for those individual is “enemy”–i.e. someone who actively sought and did harm you.
The point of quoting from Matthew 23:15 in this post is to remind us that Jesus was not BFF with everyone he met.
The Pharisees–generally speaking–were out to kill him, literally. Jesus was under no delusion that these people were enemies. And he did not pull his punches when talking about which “team” they served. To those who missed it, Jesus called them “Hell-Spawn” more or less.
If Jesus was allowed to accept that some–even religious–people were not his friends, certainly, we–as his followers–can do the same in regards to our relationships.
But what about co-parenting with a cheating ex?
This is coming from someone who did not have any kids with his ex. I want to be upfront with that. However, I would point us back to the Gospel. Jesus regularly dealt with the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law.
The fact of that regular contact did not force him to suddenly change his opinion regarding the truth–i.e. that these religious people were his enemies. Jesus did not live in denial. So, neither ought you.
Remember: You do not have to be friends with someone to do necessary business with them.
I am not friends with my landlord. Yet I still pay–actually Mrs. DM does for me–our monthly rent. Now, I don’t have a past history with my landlord like I do with my ex; however, the same idea of doing business applies to a relationship with an ex. The friendship piece isn’t necessary to execute the requirements of the law. In this case, you do not have to be friends in order to abide by the custody agreement.
Do not get sucked in by religious guilt on this matter!
God does not expect us to deny reality. An enemy is an enemy. A friend is a friend. Either there is a difference, or we should strike the word “enemy” from our dictionary. It is important that we do not confuse the two categories.
Why don’t I treat my cheating ex like a friend? Because she has decided she prefers to be my enemy in word and deed, and I respect her agency in making that choice.