If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
-Romans 12:18, NIV
Notice what this verse does and does not say:
1. It DOES NOT say–or set the expectation–that we are friends with everyone.
2. It DOES say–i.e. acknowledges–that peace with some people is impossible.
These are very important truths to remember with dealing with disordered cheaters and their apologists. A faithful, Christian spouse might love to interact in peace with the cheater and their cohorts…
But peace does not always depend on us, faithful spouses!
See point #2 above.
Further, we can be at peace with someone without that person being our friend. That is another important thing to note from this verse.
The expectation is peace with everyone; NOT FRIENDSHIP!
“At peace” and “friends” are two different statuses:
“At peace” means the hostilities have ceased between the parties. They are at peace–as in not making war. The fighting is over between the two. That is all. It does not mean that they now like each other.
We are “friends” implies mutuality. I reserve my friendship for people who I like and who treat me with respect. It has been a painful but important lesson for me to have learn through my divorce that not everyone is my friend, even if they claim to be.
That said, we are to love our enemies as Christians (see Matthew 5:44). Love is an action word that does not mean “like” your enemy. It means to act in a loving way towards them.
This loving of one’s enemy does not automatically mean the enemy becomes a friend. They can still reject such love as they reject God’s love for them.
All of these are reasons for why I encourage faithful spouses to aim at peace and NOT friendship as the goal for relationships with cheating ex-spouses.
Some ex-spouses are in the camp that rejects the necessary mutuality needed for friendship –or even peace–being possible. That is reality in a sin-broken world, and the Bible readily acknowledges such a sad reality.
Christians who do not get this and expect friendship between the divorced are insulated Christians living in a naive fantasy land. They do not grasp how deeply sinful humans can be in their rejection of God’s love and peace.