You cover the Lord‘s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. – Malachi 2:13b, ESV
To that, I suggest the pastor or counselor ask himself (or herself) what might be gained through attending such sessions. I suggest the adulterous spouse may simply be coming with the hopes that the pastor/counselor will bless their sinful decision(s). They want to look legit.
Nothing has really changed in that matter over thousands of years as far as human behavior is concerned. In today’s verses, we read of adulterers who think they have “gamed” the system in ditching their Jewish wives through divorce for local pagan wives. God denies that such divorces were legitimate, and through the Prophet Malachi further denies these Jewish adulterers His blessing.
Notice that these adulterers were still bold enough to go to “church” having drenched God’s altar with their tears. And notice they are doing this because they seek God’s blessing or favor. These were not tears over how they wronged and hurt their Jewish wives. They were self-centered tears. They wanted God to bless them.
Yet God will not bless adultery.
He calls them to account for their faithlessness and refuses to recognize their offerings while this grievous sin hangs over their heads unaddressed. God, through the Prophet Malachi, speaks up for the Jewish wives who were caste aside for pagan wives against the counsel of Scripture.
I suggest to you, my readers, that sometimes an adulterous spouse is going to the pastor’s office to drench the altar with tears, so to speak. They are there to beg for a blessing. They are not tearful over what they have done to their spouse. The tears are over the consequences that come when a divorce or relationship is Biblically illicit. So, these adulterous individuals want to avoid this consequences. They want the spiritual endorsement to their treachery and sin.
My exhortation to you, pastors, is to not give into this behavior. Be wise. Recognize that their tears may very well be over selfish ends. See that reconciliation and repentance are not the only reasons someone may come into your office. Like the Jewish adulterers of old, they maybe seeking a blessing and God’s favor from you while hoping that you will ignore their faithlessness. They may cry because they are experiencing God’s censure for their sin.