What’s To Gain?

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

wpid-2015-03-01-14.09.39.jpg.jpegSome Christians may be naive enough to believe an adulterer or adulteress coming to a pastor’s (or Christian counselor’s) office means he or she is truly repentant. Why else would they come back?

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.

Be a Malachi.

Speak up for the faithful spouse.

Tell the truth.

God does not bless adultery.

5 thoughts on “What’s To Gain?”

  1. I would like to add that repentance will bear fruit. Simply saying you are sorry for what you did and going through the motions of counseling is not repentance. When I discovered my husband’s affair, I immediately asked him to leave our home and then told the pastor of the church we attended. I was very firmly instructed to be like Hosea and take back my cheating husband. I was told that there is never a circumstance where divorce is okay. I left that church. My ex husband continued to “counsel” there. A few months later, I agreed to one joint counseling session so that I could have some closure. I wanted him to answer hard questions with a neutral party present. I sat in front of that pastor with my adulterous husband and listened to my husband blame me for his sin. I didn’t _______enough so he had an affair. I wasn’t ________enough so he had an affair. That is not repentance. Members of the small group Bible study we attended when his affair was discovered kept saying, “But, he’s repentant. How can you divorce someone who is repentant?” Repentance has to be more than meeting with your pastor and studying some scripture. They all rallied around him. They would say they weren’t choosing sides since I left the Bible study and the church to attend elsewhere, but it certainly felt that way. Meanwhile, I’m in physical pain from the trauma of what I have discovered. I’m questioning the last half of my marriage. I felt out of place in a place where I should have been finding comfort. Christian leaders have to do better. Your theology is worthless if you are unable to meet people where they are hurting. Through all this pain, I am thankful to have found a different church, one where I feel cared for and supported and am growing in my relationship with Christ.

    1. Oh, Ruthie! That’s horrible!!! Sadly, you are not the only one who has experienced such a poor response from church leadership. I call that sort of use of Hosea as spiritual abuse. And it angers me that this pastor did that to you. Here are my more extensive thoughts on Hosea posted here: http://www.divorceminister.com/abusing-the-example-of-hosea/

      Glad you have found a more supportive (and Biblical) church. I agree that your husband is not repentant truly if he is blame-shifting like he did with that pastor present. That’s classical adulterer-speak.

      Also, I would add that your former pastor has it wrong about divorce never being a godly option. Divorce is an option to faithful spouses. It was an option God exercised metaphorically in Jeremiah 3:8 over Israel’s adulteries.

      Sorry you have experienced betrayal compounded by betrayal! But I am thankful you have found your way here. Little by little, I hope we will turn the tide and start addressing adultery Biblically and seriously. Sadly, we are far from this goal today.


  2. After going to my counselor for for a few months I asked my then husband to join me. I also asked my councelor what to expect from his visits.
    She told me if he is not serious he will come 2-3 times and stop, and that is exactly what he did. He was just there to accuse me of what he though are my shortcomings, that I don’t cook and clean enough and my job is not good enough, and why don’t I want to better myself. Also I never forget he called the adultery and Incident. It was only an Incident, a 3 year long incident at this point.

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