You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?…You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” – Romans 2:22a, 23-24, ESV
My relationship with Jesus and reliance on the Bible saved my life when I went through the traumatic experiences of separation, adultery discovery, and divorce. I am convinced of this.
However, I can understand why some people walk away from Jesus and God during the deep valleys of adultery discovery and divorce. I experienced many people professing to be Christians who tried to manipulate me through dead religiosity while I was so vulnerable. Their words of commitment to Godly things and their actions did not match. If I had not had such a strong faith prior to these experiences with such wicked people claiming Jesus’ Name, I might have cursed God and departed from Christianity as well. Hypocrisy is a real turn off to put it mildly.
Too many people exist who will preach one thing then act totally differently. A pastor may claim to care about the marriage and the Bible then say nothing to confront the adulterer or adulteress when in his office with the faithful spouse. Or worse, the pastor may start to shame a faithful spouse for being or getting a divorce following the adulterous behavior in their former spouse. They might even claim a permission exists to divorce after adultery (Jer. 3:8, Mt. 5:32, and Mt 19:9), yet treat anyone who exercises that permission as a second-class Christian. It’s hypocritical to say one is living under the authority of the Bible and then act in these ways not taking adultery as seriously as God does (see post here).
I am not saying the pastor is necessarily committing adultery himself as these verses suggest from Romans. Although, I am aware that does happen and have heard from others concerning such an awful experience. What I am suggesting is the commitment to Biblical teaching on marriages and sin seems to have failed to reach into the pastor’s office too often when it comes to dealing with adultery.
And the failure to be Biblical in addressing the serious nature of adultery means many are turned off from what they see. The name of God is blasphemed because of such behavior–to borrow from today’s verses. It is blasphemed or used as a curse because people have seen the hypocrisy or have experienced the manipulation of religious people who profess one thing then use religion to do the opposite of what Jesus taught (e.g. Mt 19:9)–i.e. shaming faithful spouses to remain in marriages obliterated through adultery. Or worse, they use Jesus’ name in an attempt to justify adultery or avoid repenting of it.
If you have been turned off of Christianity because of the hypocrisy, I have an encouragement for you: This problem is not new. Clearly, the Apostle Paul was addressing it 2,000 years ago in this letter to the Romans when writing to the Jews.
Don’t let the hypocrites or the failings of humans turn you off from God.
Their failures to address adultery is not God’s heart on the matter.
He is consistent.
And God has always stood firmly against adultery and for the vulnerable.