I WAS AT ONE OF MY CONFERENCES, speaking about marriage.
At one of the breaks, a very pretty lady came up to me and told me her story:
“My husband was a serial adulterer. He cheated on me for years with multiple women, but my church encouraged me to stay and love him through it. Finally, he returned and now we are still married.”
I smiled. I don’t talk about divorce and such at my conferences. I am more interested in giving information to help typical marriages than in discussing what to do in a terrible one. This lady’s marriage was saved and the church had their “War Room” ending. I told her I was happy for her.
At the next break she approached me again. She looked at me for a moment with a strained stare, as if she was fearful to speak. Then she blurted out, “I am in hell. My skin crawls and cringes whenever he touches me. He travels for business and when I know he is coming home it takes me days to prepare myself for his arrival. I am so miserable.”
Hmmmm… I guess there really wan’t a fantastical movie ending after all.
You know what happens to most Christians who are victims of adultery?
As long as they want to save the marriage, the church is all in to help them – no matter the toll on the victim. But the moment they take the Biblical path that Jesus taught – in other words: divorce – the Church abandons them.
Jesus himself taught that in the case of sexual unfaithfulness, divorce is the outcome. Many treat that as a “possible” or “technical” outcome. They say that reconciliation is what God truly wants.
Then why didn’t Jesus say, “In the case of sexual unfaithfulness, divorce is technically OK, but what I really want is for you to save your marriage”?
Jesus taught that sexual unfaithfulness = divorce.
“But Pastor, you don’t understand grace and forgiveness!!”
Yeah, I am sure that Jesus just did not grasp the concept of grace and forgiveness.
Isn’t it odd that so many Christians abandon those who follow Jesus teaching and end their marriage? They so desired the happy movie ending that they abandon those who don’t give it to them.
A lot of these so-called “happy endings” are only happy from the outside. Many, like the woman I was talking with, remain in a terrible state.
And here is another rarely discussed “ending”: The victim remains in the marriage just so they can torture the offender! They constantly remind them of their moral failure and criticize the sinner’s every move. It is as if they stay in their marriage for the sole purpose of taking out their vengeance on the offender. Every. Single. Day.
How’s that for a “War Room” ending?
Was Jesus just talking about a “technical” reason for divorce (since apparently he hadn’t seen the “War Room” yet and didn’t understand the power of grace and forgiveness)?
Or did our Lord speak of the proper path in response to adultery?
If the answer is the latter, the Church has a long way to go to get this right.
“Pastor, are you opposed to reconciliation?”
Certainly not. But at a minimum a Legal Separation should be in place to protect the victims. And if the victim choses to end the marriage, every single Christian in their life should love and support them through it. It is, after all, consistent with the Lord’s teaching.