“I don’t want you to work it out…
…if your adulterous spouse is unrepentant.
I simply do not.”
I wish more pastors would take this stance and verbalize it to their congregants. It is very Biblical (e.g. Jeremiah 3:8, Ezekiel 18:20, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 19:9, Hebrews 13:4, etc.). However, I am aware that for some pastors divorce always the greater “evil” and must be avoided at all costs.
Here at Divorce Minister: Taking Adultery Seriously I strongly encourage people not to stay in marriages where adultery is left unaddressed. To do so harms all parties.
It harms the cheating party as he or she must repent or face damnation as I see Scripture teach (e.g. 1 Cor 6:9-10).
It certainly does not help the faithful spouse. He or she is put in an impossible position of trying to forgive and heal while someone continues to actively wound them through deception and–possibly–ongoing infidelity. Telling such individuals to forgive is like giving someone a sand bucket and telling them to dig a hole in the Pacific Ocean or be condemned.
It hurts the Church as it teaches toleration or minimization of evil plus ungodly reconciliation. Repentance is needed for godly restoration of a relationship (see post here). Without such repentance, the sin has to either be minimize or tolerated as “not that bad”–i.e. as to warrant divorce.
That is not how God views adultery! God neither tolerates or minimizes adultery. He labels it “evil” (see Deuteronomy 22:22) and divorces Israel over metaphorical adulteries (Jeremiah 3:8). Any teaching that does not take adultery this seriously is not aligned with God’s heart in the matter; ergo, it is a false teaching.
I would much rather faithful spouses defaulted to biblically divorce after adultery discovery than for them to experience more adultery discovery days later down the road–because repentance on the part of the unfaithful spouse was never really addressed.
What I hate seeing are faithful spouses accepting partial blame for their spouses’ infidelity–i.e. sin–and working hard to keep it all together while adulterous spouses simply continues down the road of destruction dragging their families with them.
I do not want a faithful spouse to work “it” out.
What I want to see is an adulterous spouse repent…then and only then is there a possibility of godly restoration in the marriage.
Even that restoration is not a given as Jesus is clear that a faithful spouse has permission–from God!–to divorce over sexual immorality (see Mt 5:32 and Mt 19:9). Regardless, we do no one a favor by encouraging a faithful spouse to work “it” out while the marriage killing sin of adultery is actively at work in both the adulterous spouse’s heart and in their marriage.
No, I do not want a faithful spouse to work “it” out.
I want a marriage healed miraculously only on God’s terms, and those put the burden squarely on the adulterous spouse’s shoulders to repent first.