Mailbag: If you have wronged someone you should seek to make amends to that person?


Another comment I am answering for today’s post:

Thank you for your encouragement. It has given me strength along with other Christ centered people around me to see my X Husband for who he really is.
So 14 months post d’Day and my Ex stated to me today that he has moved on (with a woman) and is the happiest he has ever been. In the midst of the discussion stating that he does not need to ask my forgiveness as he asked Gods and the Churches ( the pastor and elder not the church as a whole) and that is all that really matters. He stated he had said he was sorry to me and that is all he has to do. I have two problems with this and would like your comment. 1) here in Australia you need to be seperated 12months and 1 day before filing for divorce (which I did) he began his relationship with the new woman before being served the divorce papers, it was approved last month and will official as of the 6th March. Is his new relationship adultorus by nature even if they are not sleeping together?
2) have I misunderstood scripture when it says if you have wronged someone you should seek to make amends to that person?

You have heard over the past year how I myself have been treated by the church he is in so it should come as no surprise that they condone the new relationship and his manner towards me. I am seen as in the wrong, I spoke the truth when they wanted me to lie, I stood up for myself when they expected submission, I chose to end my marriage instead of showing forgiveness and turning the other cheek without any repentance or remorse from him.
I am happy with my life. I have returned to study to gain better employment. My children are doing ok. The only anguish in my life is where my life is still entwined with him.
Can I look at this as to Gods blessing?

Your input would be appreciated.



Dear Thankful,

Let’s take your two questions one at a time:

1) You wrote, “Is his new relationship adultorus by nature even if they are not sleeping together?”

It is only adultery as I use the term here on Divorce Minister (click here) if they are having sexual intercourse of some form. However, that does not mean their relationship is sanctioned by Scripture. It is still sinful. Their relationship is minimally an emotional affair as he is involved with another woman while still being married to you. Also, making the divorce official does matter because it means you are still married before the law and God. Furthermore, him telling you and the pastor (plus elder) that he is sorry does not release him Biblically from his marriage covenant to you and God thereby giving him permission to remarry. If he has sex again, he is committing adultery against you and God regardless of the legal status of your marriage as Jesus taught (see Mt 5:32).

2) You wrote, “…have I misunderstood scripture when it says if you have wronged someone you should seek to make amends to that person?

I don’t have a chapter and verse to support that sentiment. We do see Zachaeus volunteering to pay back those he wronged four times what he cheated them in Luke 19:8. Honestly, I think this is the wrong question for Christians. We are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ (see I John 4:20-21). If we do not do this, then I John tells us that we do not know God (i.e. we are not Christians). You’re stbxh’s response is not a loving response. He does not have to earn your forgiveness (that’s correct as we forgive regardless of response from the ones that have wronged us). However, if he was a true follower of Christ, he would be concerned about how he hurt you and seek to care for you. That is love. So, in that sense, amends are due if we are true followers of Christ.

It does sadden and sicken me that your church would support infidelity (and possibly adultery) so blatantly. And it saddens me for your stbxh’s sake as well. They are not truly caring for his soul. Instead, they are enabling his sin.



8 thoughts on “Mailbag: If you have wronged someone you should seek to make amends to that person?”

  1. A question has come up for me in your response. Following divorce and time to fix me, if I should ever remarry and engage in sex with a new husband am I then commuting an adulterous act against my ex husband?

    1. Thankful,

      Short answer: No.

      You were released from the marriage covenant by the adulterous act(s) of your ex-husband. A faithful spouse remarrying and enjoying sex with their new spouse is no more committing adultery than a widow/widower who remarries (Deut 22:22).

      Sorry for the confusion. What I was addressing was the idea that an adulterer/adulteress is free to remarry without sinning further. They are not as I read Scripture. That is precisely what God is prohibiting in Malachi 2, actually.

      Hope that helps clarify things!

      PS By the way, it makes no sense to be allowed to divorce in Scripture (e.g. because of discovering adultery) without the implied ability to remarry and thereby have sex with another partner under that new covenant.

  2. so my husband continuing in his relationship once our divorce is finalised will still count as adultery scripturally, – and any subsequent partner? In the eyes of the law I guess once divorced it no longer counts as adultery
    In that case short of me dying and him becoming a widower then he will always be an adulterer? He does not seem to be worried about the fate of his soul so perhaps I shouldn’t worry about him murdering me

    But suppose he genuinely repented of what he had done, obviously it cannot be undone. would God not have mercy on him?

    I have no plans to remarry once divorced, but hey who knows. A divorced man who was divorced because of his adultery would be a massive red flag so I would not put want a relationship with him, but what about other reasons for divorce, unreasonable behaviour on the part of his ex, or separation, where would that leave me? . Would I be then a partner in adultery in a scriptural sense [not in a legal sense I know] Any widow I met might have actually been an adulterer, but perhaps the wife never knew or put up with it, it would not be adultery if we married, but actually he might have done more wrong in his marriage than another man who divorced because of his wife’s unreasonable behaviour

      1. Cthank you so much for that. I realize that however much I may worry about his soul there is actually nothing I can do. He did have a chance to come back however with much time for thinking about our marriage I am batter off really without him and his verbal emotional and physical abuse. But with all that I never cheated. But probably should have divorced him on the grounds of unreasonable behavior, I still bear scars from that which i see when i look in the mirror and sometimes need a stick because of aftereffects of his violence.
        My sister’s husband became a violent alcoholic whom eventually she divorced. But it was only quite a few years later when he died of alcohol related illness that she felt free enough to meet someone else and they are now happily married.first husband had stalked her and his new woman bullied her when they found themselves on the same college course.

  3. Dear Divorce Minister, could you further explain for clarity the difference between infidelity and adultery according to the Bible. Does the Bible directly address them separately especially in reference to divorce?
    Thank you for your council with empathy it is refreshing.

    1. spiritwoman,

      Adultery or sexual immorality is what the Bible directly addresses. It is the word for sexual immorality that Jesus uses in Mt 5:32 and Mt 19:9. Adultery is certainly sexual immorality, and hence, why I use those two verses as proof-texts in regards to adultery being an exception to never divorcing. Infidelity–as I see it–is broader. Some may argue that it can encompass lust and pornography as acceptable grounds for divorce as Jesus taught us that looking at a woman lustfully is committing adultery in one’s heart. I think that is too loose an interpretation for divorce, personally. However, I do think it is still a sin against the marriage to be unfaithful emotionally or via porn use.

      Hope that helps!

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