And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
-Luke 9:5, KJV
Jesus gave us a ministry of reconciliation (see 2 Corinthians 5:18), yet Jesus told His Disciples to move on if this ministry was rejected.
Cheaters reject godly reconciliation every day. They keep the Other Man/Other Woman in their lives. Nasty secrets remain hidden from their spouses of their youth. Some even lie boldly while sitting in couples therapy or in the pastor’s office–either by omission or by commission. Saddest of all, some cheaters are pastors and/or marriage therapists themselves who were taught better but chose wickedness over godliness.
A time comes when godly people need to walk away and kick off “the dust” from our feet. I regularly get inquiries in my inbox or in the comment section regarding questions around the topic of forgiving the cheating partner (or ex). What I did not share in the last post was how walking away may be the furthest we can go with remorseless, unrepentant cheaters.
Disengagement and entrusting stubbornly unrepentant people to God’s judgment is the furthest we get with some individuals.
And that seems acceptable from Jesus’ perspective.
Jesus does not insist that His disciples keep knocking on doors insisting a community listen to their message. He respects the Jews’ decision to reject the Good News. So, Jesus instructs the disciples to walk away and kick off the dust from their feet, which was a prophetic act of judgment (see yesterday’s post).
Pursuing them to convince them to repent or that they need forgiveness is not what I see as Jesus’ heart for remorseless cheaters here. They had their opportunity when confronted by the truth of their errors. And they repeatedly chose to reject the demands of a godly gospel on their lives.
So, I see this “dust kicking” as a model for dealing with those who refuse God’s call to repentance following infidelity discovery. As consistent Christians, we need to learn that some people truly do not want forgiveness and see reason to repent. Jesus accepted this reality, and godly pastors ought to instruct faithful spouses to act accordingly in accepting it as well.
It bothers me to hear awful stories of how pastors refuse to accept that some people actually do choose adultery over fidelity. Of all people, evangelical pastors ought to understand this phenomenon as Jesus explained it clearly (see John 3:19ff).
Judgment remains with God just as it did regarding those Jewish communities who refused the disciples.
Jesus did not tell His disciples to call down curses on the Jews who rejected them. He did not instruct them in ways that they could actively punish those who had insulted them by not welcoming them and their message. Rather, Jesus instructed them to rid themselves of any connection–any speck of dust–that connected them to those communities who implicitly would face God’s wrath over their hard-hearted rejection.
A cheater (and/or cheater apologist) who has no interest in forgiveness and godly repentance is just like those Jewish communities rejecting the disciples and their gospel message. So, that gives us an idea of what is really required of faithful Christians in these matter.
We shake off “their dust” from our “feet” and move on entrusting them to God’s judgment.
Ultimately, they are rejecting God when they refuse to repent and seek forgiveness. He will deal with them. We can move on to people who are truly interested in godly living. They are no longer our concern. That is what godly “forgiveness” looks like for faithful spouses in these situations.