Picking Up The Pieces After Adultery
Marriage is the most important institution of the Church. It is what builds families and communities. However, not all marriages last and, unfortunately, there are lots of couples who end up filing for divorce due to their marital problems. One of the causes of marital breakdown is adultery.
Time and time again, the Bible forbids married couples from committing adultery. It is explicitly explained in the Bible that “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) and this passage is even written in the Ten Commandments. Moreover, people who are found out to be guilty of committing adultery are soon put to death in the Old Testament. Although this may be the case, God never put the wise King David to death when he committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. What God did was to send prophet Nathan to rebuke Kind David’s adulterous actions.
In the New Testament, John 8:1-11 indicated how Jesus forgave an adulterous woman and how He prevented some men from punishing her by stoning her to death. He said “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7, NIV)
With this, how does one pick up the pieces after his or her marriage has been tainted by adultery? The Bible is specific about the forgiveness of adultery. The passage in John 8:1-11 is the best example of how we should forgive adultery. What God desires for us is to learn how to forgive other people especially our spouses even if they have committed the most horrible sins. Remember that in Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV) the text reads “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked. ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’”
Couples who seek counseling to help rebuild their lives after being shattered by adultery find it difficult to forgive one another for their transgressions. However, for both parties to be able to move one, there should be forgiveness. The one who is at fault – the adulterous partner – should be the one to ask forgiveness. On the other hand, it is not right for couples to follow the concept of “forgive and forget” because this discourages couples to acknowledge the situation and its underlying causes.
Another important step for couples to recover is to recognize that emotional healing takes time. For this reason, the adulterous spouse should never rush the other one to forgiving them for their sins. What makes adultery a grave sin is that it also strips away faith and trust in the relationship. During the healing process, couples experience other emotions including fear, anger and anxiety and only time will be able to help couples mend their wounds.
Picking up the broken pieces in marriage after an adulterous affair is something that is very difficult to do among many couples but with the help of a good counselor as well as support from the whole Christian community, moving forward and forgiveness is possible.