“What happens with leaders often in these situations is that they give you one paragraph of acknowledgement of wrong, and 6 paragraphs of how they are a victim. If I’m counselling an adulterous man, and he sits in front of me and all he talks about is his wife, I know that man is far from confession and repentance. Because once he sees his sin it is devastating and you cry out for God… You think about your future, you don’t think about how to manage it. Until you get to that level of brokenness, what you do is manage a crisis, instead of dealing with the deep personal sin at the bottom of the crisis.”
Is the cheater really repentant?
The quote is an old statement from a time when Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington still existed. As that now defunct church and its former leaders pop back into the spotlight, I was reminded of this statement. In particular, this quote from Tripp caught my attention. It was a very succinct statement of how to know a cheater is unrepentant.
Essentially, if the cheater keeps blame-shifting and pointing the finger at the other spouse, one can assess such a cheater as not at a place of repentance yet.
-If one is still working to get the cheater to take full responsibility for cheating, the cheater is not repentant.
-If it is a struggle to get full disclosure of the facts from the cheater, the cheater is not repentant.
-If the cheater is not actively seeking to repair and make restitution for what he or she destroyed, the cheater is not repentant.
-If the cheater is more concerned about how they look than what they did to their victim(s), the cheater is not repentant.
A repentant person is not in the business of putting their needs first over their victims’ needs. They accept reality that what they did was truly wrong and awful. Minimization or blaming someone else for their choices and actions are not on the table for this individual. They own their actions and the ruined reputation those actions created.
I think faithful spouses and many Christian leaders alike are so hungry for marriage resurrection stories that we ignore reality. We choose to take less than the necessary and obvious signs that a cheater is repentant. The red flags of blame-shifting and resistance to full disclosure of the truth regarding what took place are ignored to obtain that “holy grail” of marriage resurrection.
This is not good or godly.
Is a cheater really repentant? Look at their actions.
Are they humble or proud in their interactions? Do they walk in the light or seek to manage their image by hiding in the darkness?