I received a very sad email the other day that moved me so much, I thought I’d share it so that we can all be reminded of how to handle forgiveness and infidelity.
She wrote that she has been unfaithful to her husband for the past ten years and had treated him badly. She also expressed her deep remorse for all of the things she has done and has recently accepted Yeshua. (Jesus) She has repented from her sins and has turned to YHVH for forgiveness and she believes by faith that she has been forgiven.
She has also confessed everything to her husband and has asked him to forgive her and he said he has but…..he’s filing for a divorce. She doesn’t want a divorce because she still loves him and wants to try to repair her marriage. The husband is refusing but stated that “if God speaks to him, then he’ll stop the divorce.” She is beside herself in anguish over this
During those ten years, he remained with her trying to repair the marriage but it seems he is done now. Also, he is a pastor. This is her situation in a nutshell.
First, I’m sure you all will agree that it’s especially hard dealing with betrayal from a spouse and for such a long time. I understand how the husband feels as I’m sure many of you do as well. Most people would not stick around for 10 years so kudos to him for doing that. However, he’s not handling this biblically. The bible says…
We are to forgive our brothers 70 x 7. (Matt 18:21-22)
This does not mean to forgive someone exactly 490 times. It means to forgive infinitely. We are to show the same abundant mercy towards others that God has shown us in forgiving our lifetime of sin before we knew Him. (See also the parable of the unmerciful servant: Matt 18: 21-35)
God Has Already Spoken
God has already spoken through His Word on this issue of forgiveness – see above reference. So while God certainly can give her husband special instructions on this, or bring verses to mind, He may not do this because He has already spoken of it.
Divorce is Permitted Due to Infidelity (Matt 19:7-9)
While divorce is permitted due to infidelity, then what are we to make of our forgiveness given to us when we were unfaithful to God before we accepted Yeshua and repented? We know that God never intended for divorce in the first place and Moshe makes a provision for it due to our hard hearts, but Yeshua does give permission in this case. There are many admonishments for us not to harden our hearts because then the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) cannot work in and through us. I personally think that while you technically are permitted to divorce due to infidelity, I also believe that it shows unforgiveness towards that person and stifles the Ruach from working in you. God divorced Israel due to infidelity (Jer 3:8) but when she repents, He will welcome her back as His bride. (Jer 31:31-34, Rom 11:23) And if that same Spirit is in us, then shouldn’t we do the same thing?
A Believing Brother Should Not Divorce Unbelieving Wife if She Wants to Remain (1 Corin 7:12)
If this is true for an unbelieving wife, then how much so for a believing wife? Like she stated, she accepted Yeshua recently and has repented of her sins and is now a part of the same Heavenly Kingdom that her husband belongs to and yet he still wants to divorce her? Who is showing the signs of spiritual fruit here; him or her?
This is what it comes down to…
“For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.” Matt 6:14,15
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matt 5:7
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.” Mark 11:25
Again, I understand what the husband is going through. Forgiving infidelity is one of the hardest things to do because the ‘enemy’ is within your own camp. This is not something we can accomplish in the flesh, but by the Holy Spirit. Yes, it is easier said than done but here is an opportunity to put your flesh to death through the power of the Ruach. And for the unforgiven wife that this article speaks of, please remember that your debt is cleared in heaven’s court. God has forgiven you and you are righteous in His sight. Perhaps your husband just needs a little time to cool off and for the Spirit to work in him. In the meantime, continue on your relationship with the Father and pray for your husband.
If anyone has any encouraging words for her, I urge you to comment because she said that she will be reading them. And also, please pray for them.