They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 6:14, NIV
Unconditional forgiveness pushers are like the people mentioned here in Jeremiah 6:14 treating gaping wounds with boo-boo kisses.
Either they do not know the first thing about dealing with the reality and depth of the damage adultery causes or they are willfully pushing this harmful philosophy for their own agenda. If they did know, they would recognize the catastrophic losses that come with such intimate, humiliating betrayals and realize they are speaking to someone in extreme grief.
Permanent denial of the real losses is not a healthy way forward to healing and wholeness.
That is what the unconditional “forgive and forget” messages encourage: A permanent denial of reality. Believing and following this message stunts the healing grieving process for faithful spouses. And it minimizes the damages done by adultery and all the lies that go with it.
Adultery is soul rape. Forgiving the soul rapist does not erase the damage done by such a violation. It does not undo the trauma inflicted willfully upon the unsuspecting partner. The magic wand of “forgiveness” does not make that disappear for faithful partners. They must forever live with those scars on their souls.
I call this sort of forgiveness “flaky” because I do not believe it is true forgiveness.
True forgiveness acknowledges the reality of the debt. It does not engage in the denial of history like the “flaky” kind does.
True forgiveness requires a receptive and humble perpetrator who recognizes his or her need to be forgiven (e.g. I John 1:9). It does not forgive with no reference to the perpetrators ability to receive like the “flaky” kind does.
Forgiveness does not have the power to undo history. Any form of “forgiveness” that suggests or acts otherwise is an ungodly idea based upon a sick lie. It is a sick lie because the lie minimizes the injustices and suggests the damage did not happen when it obviously did. It trivializes the trauma of adultery.
God does not trivialize the damage of adultery. Rather promises Divine judgment (Hebrews 13:4) for all who engage in such behavior!
If the adulteress or adulterer is never humbly receptive to forgiveness, then I believe we need to hand them over to God for God to handle (e.g. Romans 12:19). This is an act of faith. We are trusting God with our wounds and injustices believing in Him to do the right thing. And we are discharging our burden in handing the adulterous spouse over to God (I Peter 5:7). It is a letting go of our need for revenge.
I believe this is forgiveness in the sense that we are now saying the debt and wrong is something the cheater must settle with God who will never be fooled by false repentance.
But this sort of forgiveness does not happen between an unrepentant cheater and the wronged spouse. It is an appeal to a higher court. The faithful spouse is choosing to discharge the debt owed to him or her to God’s Collection Agency, so to speak.