When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
– James 1:13-14, NIV
Committing adultery is no more indicative of prior marriage problems than embezzling millions is indicative of an employee being poorly paid.
Might the embezzling employee be poorly paid?
However, that is beside the point. The poor pay did not cause the embezzlement. The employee chose out of his/her own evil desires to steal.
Might there have been marital problems prior to the adultery?
We are all sinners after all (Ro. 3:23) and so, sin will be present in every marriage to some degree.
However, that, too, is beside the point. The poor marriage conditions or marriage problems did not cause the adultery. It was wicked choice flowing from the unfaithful spouse’s evil desires that caused the adultery (see James 1:13-14 quoted above).
Who in their right mind would allow the embezzlement to continue once exposed?
Do we form committees to create new company policy regarding workers’ compensation as a response to embezzlement? Is the first thought to give this employee a raise and thank her for bringing this problem to management’s attention through embezzling funds?
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?!
But we give similar advice to faithful spouses all the time!
They are brought to marriage counseling–or come on their own volition hoping to keep the untrustworthy “employee”–then told how they need to work on themselves first and foremost. Their shortcomings are the focus of these sessions.
I have even seen the cheating spouse triangulate the Christian marriage counselor into functioning as the grader of the faithful spouse’s progress while totally ignoring the infidelity of the cheater.
You see, the cheating spouse likes to have progress reports on how the pay raise committee is progressing.
And if this is not insulting and degrading enough, the cheating spouse–along with some counselors/pastors–might even try to convince the faithful spouse how the adultery or infidelity was actually a gift to them.
It was a cry for help.
The faithful spouse ought to thank the cheater for bringing these marriage issues–i.e. complaints about the faithful spouse’s performance–to his or her attention by being unfaithful. Isn’t that so loving of them?
When an embezzler is caught, he is completely responsible for committing the crime that he committed–i.e. embezzling funds. Any business leader with commonsense would ensure the embezzling stops immediately. They would not entertain raising the embezzlers pay.
Rather, they would likely fire the embezzler for violating trust and stealing.
And they likely would press charges sending the embezzler to jail for his crime.
Think of divorce after adultery like firing an embezzler. The company does not have to do it. They may even show mercy in cases where the embezzler is truly repentant. But they do not owe the embezzler his job. Similarly, the faithful spouse does not owe the cheating spouse marriage restoration.
Firing an embezzling employee is a commonsense outcome for such a grievous breach of trust, and it may be necessary to protect the company from further damage caused by that embezzler. Likewise, divorce is necessary sometimes to stop the ongoing damaging of the faithful spouse and family.
This is especially so when the cheating spouse is unrepentant.
Next time you consider advice regarding infidelity,
put it to the “Embezzler Analogy Test.”
Would I consider this wise counsel in handling an employee who is embezzling major company funds? If not, then it likely is unwise counsel as well for a faithful spouse dealing with a cheater.