Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die.”
-2 Samuel 12:13-14, NLT
Is the cheater asking for forgiveness or simply seeking to avoid accountability for their sins?
They are not the same thing. However, most Christians who condemn faithful spouses for being “unforgiving” fail to recognize this important distinction.
Forgiveness does not magically erase all the consequences of the sin.
This is true for everyone involved in the situation.
A faithful spouse does not get their peace of mine suddenly restored after forgiving their cheater. They will likely struggle with trust after experiencing months or even years of gas-lighting abuse.
And that struggle DOES NOT mean the faithful spouse has failed to forgive the cheater. It simply means he or she has not fully recovered from the cheater’s abuse!
Expecting a cheater to do things to rebuild the trust he or she broke by lying and cheating is NOT punishment or unforgiveness. It is godly restitution.
Next time a cheater asks for forgiveness, pay attention to what he or she is really asking for. They may really be less interested in forgiveness and more interested in escaping their duty to perform godly restitution.