Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. – Ephesians 5:11, ESV
In a world where extramarital sex is glorified and the bar-hoping swinger is idolized on Rom-Com, prime-time TV, the Church is fighting an uphill battle against adultery. And it is losing. I think I can almost hear Satan snickering to himself as he watches yet another marriage implode due to one spouse’s selfish choices to commit adultery:
And the Church thinks the problem is divorce? Ha, ha, ha. As long as they’re stuck there, I get a two-fer: The adulterous spouse’s soul ends up getting damned as no repentance takes place where no sin is seen. AND I get to accuse and shame the divorced faithful spouse for something that isn’t even sin! In fact, I don’t even have to work too hard on the later. Plenty of “churchy” people do that shaming well.
It breaks my heart. We are losing this very battle. And I believe it is both due to poor Biblical literacy on the matter and an unwillingness to confront or expose sin. We are overdue in calling sin, sin. And we are overdue to name adultery as evil and the soul rape that it is.
Another tool in this battle underutilized is talking about the real devastation of adultery. Satan is winning by silencing faithful spouses from sharing their stories through the duel weapons of shame and religiosity (e.g. teaching the lie that forgiveness means pretending it never happened). It is past time the sheen is taken off this sin by exposing it to the light of truth and testimonies. Many of us could write our own stories of how discovering adultery felt.
And people need to know that real people are seriously hurt by adultery. It’s not just a “slip up” or a “mistake.” Adultery is deliberately done replete with mountains of lies and deception usually. And nothing is glamorous about adultery when you are the spouse who has been soul raped by your spouse’s infidelity. Real lives are destroyed. Souls are forever scared. And some memories will never be unremembered.
To such ends, I share a link to an article in the secular media in closing (some bad language is in it, fyi). The author shares the pain of how it felt to discover adultery. The article is How Ending My Fairytale Marriage Saved Me And My Kid by Cris Gladly (click on title to read the article).
While I do not agree with all the author’s points,+ I think it is worthwhile to bear witness to the devastation of adultery that she articulates well in the article. If they have not lived it themselves, a wise Christian counselor and pastor would do well to listen and pay attention to stories like these before giving their opinions or counsel on how to heal following adultery.
+Specifically, I disagree with the author blaming her youth in getting married as the ultimate cause of the divorce. Many people get married young and can remain married even though they are growing into their senses of self as individuals. Personally, I see this as a cope out for not laying the blame where it is due–i.e. her adulterous, ex-husband’s feet. It boils down to character and what flows out of the heart. Some people do not have the character at 18 or 78 to be monogamous. Getting married young is not the culprit as I see things from Scripture and experience. Also, I notice her talk about her husband not wearing his wedding ring after they get back “together” in the article. Such actions as I have said elsewhere (link here) suggest or hint to me that her husband was not faithful even then. Finally, my heart breaks as she shares about the shame of getting divorce papers as if getting the divorce papers following her husband’s rather flagrant infidelity was her shame to bear. It was and is not.