One day after work, my Maurice said he had something to tell me. I could tell by his face that it was serious. He proceeded to explain what had happened at work. An older woman had approached him, told him how handsome he was, touched his face and offered to photograph him. “Say what??!!”, was the expression on my face in that moment but of course, all i want to know was, “Then what did YOU do?”. He looks at me in shock and says “Nothing of course. I told her I was married”. Hmmm…..well she just better keep her cougar paws off mines! It could have been something, but I thank God for my husband’s resolve to flee!
Adultery puts negative connotations in anyone’s mind. Most people agree that it is a sin whether they are Christians or not. Adultery is specific to the married person whereas fornication is sex between two people who are not married to each other. Both are spoken against in the Word of God. Marriage is supposed to be seen as a sacred covenant sealed by intercourse, but in today’s society, even marriage itself carries less and less respect. Adultery remains one the the legal reasons for divorce. If we want our marriages to last, we need to be aware of this great enemy of our relationships.
Voluntary sexual relations between an individual who is married and someone who is not the individual’s spouse.
Adultery is viewed by the law in many jurisdictions as an offense injurious to public morals and a mistreatment of the marriage relationship.
Statutes attempt to discourage adultery by making such behavior punishable as a crime and by allowing a blameless party to obtain a divorce against an adulterous spouse.
Although adultery has been historically regarded as a legal wrong, it has not always been considered a crime. In Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, adultery was punishable solely in courts created by the church to impose good morals. In the ecclesiastical courts, adultery was any act of sexual intercourse by a married person with someone not his or her spouse. The act was considered wrongful regardless of whether the other person was married. At Common Law, adultery was wrongful intercourse between a married woman and any man other than her husband.
Some of us know about the effects that adultery can have on a marriage. At a minimum there is at least great tension and emotional distress involved. Once it is established that this has occurred in a marriage the only options are forgiveness and reconciliation or separation with a possible divorce. Unfortunately, it is seldom so simple. When there are children involved and/or pregnancy, money, real estate and valuables, it can be made to be very complex. We see this in the story of Abraham and Sarah with Hagar and her son Ishmael (see the January WIN Youversion bible study HERE). Hurt feelings and love for the adulterer collide.
We see an example of this clearly in the book of Hosea. This man of God marries Gomer who continually cheats on him and shows no remorse. She even has children by other multiple lovers. However, Hosea continues to love her and bring her back home. He forgives over and over although he is greatly hurt and embarassed. Then she does it again. The bible compares Hosea to God. This book of the bible shows God’s disgust with His church (Israel) that keeps cheating with other gods, yet His love is unfailing towards her. In His fierce anger, He promises judgment on her, but afterwards He will love her.
Hosea 14:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. (KJV)
Most people who are victims of an adulterous spouse, especially those who are not christians, will state that God can forgive but they cannot. What does the Bible have to say about your spouse cheating on you?
1. If your unbelieving spouse leaves you, let them go. (I Corinthians 7:15)
2. Forgive them as you would wish to be forgiven to set yourself free. (Matthew 6:12)
3. If they desire to return, set boundaries and seek wise counsel. (Proverbs 11:14)
What if YOU are the adulterous spouse in search of forgiveness and reconciliation with your husband? How does the Bible address that situation?
1. Cut off the relationship and ask for forgiveness. (Matthew 6:12)
2. Seek reconciliation. (Hosea 3:1, II Corinthians 5:18)
3. Be faithful to re-earn trust. (Ecclesiastes 5:5, Proverbs 20:6)
It is almost unrealistic to say that the enemy will never tempt you or your spouse with adultery. It could happen daily. It is important to guard your heart and mind. For instance, it has happened to me more than once that a male co-worker has crossed the line from professionalism to flirty behavior. Boundaries must be drawn immediately! The devil desires to destroy the communion that you have with your husband and abolish the example of Christ and His Church. It is also extremely unrealistic to have a best friend of the opposite sex when you are married. This should never be the case. Why play with fire? You may not have feelings for them but that seldom is the mutual feeling.
The Bible tells us to flee adultery. That tells me that adultery is chasing after us! That spirit seeks to overtake us and cause untold damage to our relationships. Don’t think that you are above it or that if you are a good enough wife that your husband will never cheat. That is being ignorant. We should be aware of the enemy’s devices. Our best defense is the Word of God! Put on the whole armor of God. The helmet of salvation will guard your mind from thoughts about men other than your husband. The sword of the Spirit will help you to speak scripture against the opposition (Resist the devil and he will flee from YOU. James 4:7). The breastplate of righteousness will cover your heart an help you to keep your emotions in check throughout the fight. The girdle of truth will hold up against every lie of your foe. The shield of faith quenches the lies and reminds the enemy that you belong to Christ and the shoes of the preparation to share the gospel will keep you headed in the right direction as you pursue peace.
Don’t ever doubt the power of God in whatever way that adultery has reared its ugly head in your relationships. God is a Redeemer! He can make crooked paths straight and bring reconciliation to what has been dissolved. He can bless your life with a faithful and loving husband and keep you from falling. Are you fleeing adultery? Have you extended forgiveness to your husband? How have you put on the whole armor of God in your marriage? Has God shown Himself to be a Redeemer to you? Let’s share. I want to hear your thoughts, comments and questions.