“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
-Hebrews 12:5b-6, 9-10, NKJV
“This is God’s disciplining you. Lean into it!”
– Christian to a faithful spouse, post-adultery discovery.
So much is wrong with this statement.
So, let’s begin:
First, this statement assumes a faithful spouse deserves to have their soul raped! This is crystal clear for anyone who cares to look even a little deeper into such an assessment. We do not correct or discipline someone who is without need of correction for error or wrongdoing. So, in other words, this mindset is a spiritualized spin-off of “The Shared Responsibility Lie.” It lays a portion–at least–of blame at the feet of the victim for causing the ordeal he or she is currently enduring.
Second, this statement suggests God, our Father, is the author and prescriber of soul rape–and all its nasty accompaniments–for the faithful spouse, His beloved child. This is wicked. And the person suggesting such things is skating on some very thin ice spiritually speaking.
Let me put this danger in human terms as the author of Hebrews did:
Let’s say Munchkin is grownup and married. Her husband cheats on her (and let’s assume Mrs. Feistypants hasn’t gotten to him yet with her shovel). Someone tells Munchkin that her Daddy–i.e. me–set this all up as discipline for her poor performance as a wife. Allegedly, “I” even bought the hookers her husband used to cheat on her. But it was done out of “love” to discipline her into becoming a more righteous person. She needs to lean into this discipline and learn from it.
Pastor or not, I would take that liar down. Trust me, my righteous wrath is a fearful thing to behold. And make no mistake: this anger would be a righteous anger in this scenario (even if I gave into a not so righteous response of vengeance).
Let me explain:
First, this person is spreading slanderous lies about my character. Second, he is causing or might cause a separation between me and my daughter–precisely when she needs my fatherly support the most. These are wrongs. Anger is an appropriate emotional response to such wrongs.
Saying “God is disciplining you” to a faithful spouse does both those things I enumerated above in my analogy. It slanders God’s Name and Character. Plus, it may drive a wedge between this wounded individual and the one Person that he/she needs above everyone else!
God is much more patient than I am. He would hold it together for a lot longer than this earthly father could. However, I do not suggest trying His patience.
I can say this is God’s response to such counsel with confidence, because that is how God responded to such counsel in Scripture (see Job 42:7-8).
God openly rebuked Job’s friends–in Scripture for all times–for slandering His good Name by saying Job brought his ordeal upon himself by his misdeeds. Further, God instructed those friends to humble themselves to have Job offer animal sacrifices plus prayers on their behalf for such sin or face God’s justice!
It is best not to repeat the folly of Job’s friends.
So, it is best not to tell a faithful spouse–
“This is God disciplining you.”