God’s Emotional Response To Adultery

“‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.

“‘Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your naked body in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood, therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see you stark naked. I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring on you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. Then I will deliver you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your mounds and destroy your lofty shrines. They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry and leave you stark naked. They will bring a mob against you, who will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. They will burn down your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women. I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers. Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.

-Ezekiel 16:32-42, NIV

wpid-img_20140819_200236.jpgCan you sense the anger and disgust towards idolatrous, adulterous Jerusalem behind the words? Do you sense how detestable adultery is to God?

Does it sound like God is of the “mistakes were made” sort of perspective on adultery? Is He holding court on Jerusalem’s FOO (family of origin) issues? Does Jerusalem’s “lack of happiness” factor into this discussion?

Or do you think God sees adultery simply as a sinful and willful choice made solely by the unfaithful spouse?

This is a graphic and jarring passage of Scripture. Yet we are told by Scripture that this is the same God who came to us as Jesus (e.g. Hebrews 13:8). Holiness is apparently very important to Him. He is not interested in being “sloppy seconds” in His marriage to His covenant people.

Adultery REALLY riles up God’s righteous indignation!

When Christians and Christians leaders worry about the outrage of faithful spouses, I wonder if they have ever read passages like this one and paused long enough to realize what these passages teach us about God’s heart concerning adultery. God does not treat adultery like it was some sort of marriage symptom or an unfortunate mistake made by the adulterer/adulteress.


God lays the full blame with great fury upon the unfaithful spouse alone.

Plus, the passage I quoted above is far from inconsistent with other passages in the Old Testament where God utilizes the metaphor of adultery to speak about idolatry (e.g. just look at the book of Hosea).

The language is strong.

Far from condemning anger when adultery is present (and repeated without regard to the faithful spouse), I see God modeling in His Word an appropriate emotional response for a faithful spouse to have to such intimate humiliation and violation. It calls for anger.*

Adultery is a very BIG deal to God!

Encouraging such righteous anger over adultery is actually encouraging godliness in faithful spouses. It is calling them to respond as God responds to adultery.

Who knows? Maybe by encouraging such anger–in appropriate and safe settings–marriages might be saved.

If evangelical Christian pastors really interested in saving marriages after adultery, why don’t we start here?

It’s a godly remedy after all.

And I have more than one verse to prove it.

*IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: As humans, it is not our role to seek revenge but God’s. I am pointing out how Scripture utilizes healthy anger in light of adultery to illustrated how God’s anger is justified in the face of idolatrous adultery. After all, the Bible says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19, NIV).

7 thoughts on “God’s Emotional Response To Adultery”

  1. Thank you for recognizing and understanding the anger associated with adultery! I was actually scared by how angry I was -and frankly still am-at times! Thankfully, my therapist helped me understand that it was a normal and healthy response to the abuse and defilement I had suffered because of my cheating STBX husband. Still, as you note, it’s important to remember that vengeance is God’s job, not ours-no matter how darkly delightful plotting a bit of torture and just desserts might seem at the time. My job is to get thru this, keep my integrity, get my life back and move forward. I am confident that God’s plan for me is success and that the unfaithful party will be dealt with…maybe not in my time, but certainly in God’s good time!

    I appreciate your work and send you blessings.

    1. Duped- anger is definitely ‘A Okay’ when it comes to infidelity. My experience was in high school so in the grand scale of things it was minimal compared to what others have gone through. I still ran a mile in 6.5 min instead of the usual 8 min that I was at at that point. It takes a LOT of energy to take off that much time from your run. I didn’t realize just how angry I was until I saw my time. I’ve yet to run a mile that fast again.

  2. You have a good point. It is comforting to me to see God’s strong response to unfaithfulness. I know from other passages that He holds people who commit adultery accountable for their own sin.

    This is also a good reminder that God holds people accountable for their unfaithfulness towards Him. I do have a confession to make. Since I divorced years ago, I have not had the desire to remarry and have been trying to make a rich life as a single christian for over seven years. In some ways it works well, I have more free time for friends and family and have made new friends and have a new job I love. The problem is that singleness can leave the door wide open for sexual temptation. After being faithful in that area for over six years, I ended up giving in to temptation and sleeping with a single friend of mine. I realize the factors that led up to this and how I put myself in a position where temptation would be more likely. Thank you for reminding me that God also holds me accountable for my faithfulness to Him. I think part of my problem is that I could justify my sins more easily to myself since we were two conscenting single adults. (No homes would be blown apart by what we were doing). I need to remember that God wants to help me and does deserve my faithfulness in response to His faithfulness towards me.

    1. AnnaM,

      Exactly. It is best we stay vigilant over the lies we tell ourselves or allow ourselves to believe. Glad you are aware of this and realize you can take steps to help yourself do better in the future.

      And I agree that fornication–while fully sin and fully wrong–does not have the same negative impact as adultery consequence-wise. But it is best not to sin at all, of course. Thankfully, God gives forgiveness and grace to those who confess and repent (I John 1:9).


  3. Hello !!
    I read all of the page and posts, and I must say I absolutely agree with everything you posted.
    People just dont get it, Especially friends and family, those who still hang onto that unfaithful ex. After the betrayal had been revealed i was furious, told her she had to leave, i wanted a divorce. But i made the mistake of thinking the relationship could be reconciled. Fact of the matter was and still is , it cannot. It only gave her time to drum up exscuses and get my relatives sympathetic to her cause.
    Amazingly she accused me of having an affair on her , and my relatives believed her.
    But now my anger not only belongs to her but to those relatives who embraced her and treated me like the enciter of her actions. So I have cut them out of my life. It makes me to angry to deal with them, and it breaks my heart to think that they believe that I could ever do such a thing.
    This is not about forgiveness, or being vindictive. Its about a continuous march of this horrible person parading around like the victim when she has made more than one victim out of this mess , and brought others into her fold who even after I presented evidence to them still are carrying her torch.
    They initially tried to play like they didnt want to get involved , but they got involved, put themselves where they had no right to go.
    But God is not without his justice, lets just say that she had a few things happen to her that she claimed I was doing , done actually to her.
    I pray that my relatives learn before God dishes out his justice upon them as well.
    But for the time being I must greive the loss of some of my family members , and move on.
    I believe that I am righteous in my indignant anger, justified by the truth for my actions. So help me God.

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