When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned…The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy….
-Galatians 2:11, 13a, NIV
Sometimes a rebuke is in order.
Cephas, aka the Apostle Peter, needed a rebuke by the Apostle Paul for doing what he knew was wrong and leading others astray in following Jewish law over Christian grace. Paul did not “nice” Peter back into sound practice. He rebuked him!
Too often, faithful spouses and other Christians are taught to “play nice” and essentially behave in passive ways while sin increases. This does not strike me as godly even though the evangelical church often teaches this sort of response under the guise of being “forgiving” and “gracious.”
Sometimes a person needs their conscience pricked and receive a reminder of what they already know: It is WRONG!
Like the Apostle Peter, a cheater–especially someone confessing to be a Christian–already is aware of the fact that adultery is wrong. They may have quieted that voice by “justifying” it and believing tailor made lies in their heads. But they know it is wrong!
A rebuke calls the cheater’s attention to this spiritual truth and cuts through the “justifying” lies the cheater has told himself or herself.
It is possible that the cheater is too far along in believing her lies to receive any real good from such a rebuke. God does allow us to go our merry way to Hell as is explained in Romans 1. But I do not believe saying nothing or ignoring this major sin is going to do anything but enable the lies the cheater believes and is leading his or her soul to damnation (see Hebrews 10:26-27).
The lies saying adultery is okay are the cancer. Such calls for drastic treatment and courageous surgery. The marriage may be over but the soul of the cheater hangs in the balance as to whether or not they will repent of their sin and find forgiveness for them.
When adultery is involved, this is not time to play nice or be passive. It is time to be strong and stand in the truth that adultery is never justifiable. A cheater ought to know if they choose the lie that their victim and other Christian leaders will not follow the them down the path of darkness.
Faithful spouses and their true supporters know such things that attempt to justify adultery are lies, and they will stand on the truth.
That’s what a rebuke declares. And it is godly!