Saturday, September 9, 2017

Does Forgiveness Has An End In Marital Infidelity?

My Unfaithful Wife, Should I Divorce Or Should I Keep Forgiving?

Question: My wife has been going back to her weakness by committing adultery. After forgiving her the first time, after 4 months she continue to contact the same person again, after 8 months, she did the same thing again. What shall I do, keep on forgiving her or file for divorce?

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name! The will of God is that none should perish, but all must come to eternal life, this is the very reason God is delaying His second coming and giving more people the chance to repent and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). In other words, God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). Our God is a God of all forgiveness, even when we were enemies of God and were ungodly by living in sin without hope and having no strength to overcome sin, Christ died to save us from our sins (Rom 5:6). This is the pure unconditional love of God that we receive and practice it in our lives, it comes to us when we are saved by faith and live by faith (Heb 10:38), and hope in the promises of Christ who fails not, who gives a token of appreciation through pouring His love in to our heart to show us the way to inherit his promises is through receiving His Love and developing His patience, which helps us to wait patiently for our inheritance of His promises which we receive at the end in the appointed timing of God through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5; 1 Cor 13:13; Heb 10:35-36).

God knows and understands how much frustrating it is when a wife becomes unfaithful, because God kept the nation of Israel as his chosen peculiar wife through a covenant of marriage where He called them to faithfully follow Him so that He would reciprocate to bless them greatly above all the peoples of the earth (Exodus 19:5-8), but the way they continued in sin unrepentantly, God divorced her and sent her away in to Assyrian bondage.

God's prophets had warned the people of impending judgment for their sins for hundreds of years ahead, making it very clear that they would not escape punishment if they persisted in breaking the commandments, statutes and judgments. In Jeremiah 3:14, we read the words of God spoken to His people through the weeping prophet Jeremiah, "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I AM MARRIED UNTO YOU." Through the prophet Isaiah God reminded His people saying, "For thy Maker is thine HUSBAND; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 54:5).

When ever His people indulged in worshiping idols, it was equivalent to them committing adultery within the covenant of the marriage clause, which actually happened right after God gave the marriage certificate of Ten Commandments through Moses by the hand of angels (Gal 3:19), even before God's certificate of marriage could reach them they started worshiping the golden calf instead of the Lord who redeemed and bought them out in to liberty of spiritual marriage to Himself, instead of the slavery of Egypt where they were all slaves for hundreds of years (Exodus 20:1-3). God gave the promise of His marriage to the people of God first to Abraham who was the father of faith, through him to the people of Israel, but the criteria of the law was given later so that people of God could get convicted of sin and repent of their evil deed to return to the Lord Jehovah who has married them all. Law spoke of God's existing spiritual marriage with them, and reminded them to stay faithful to Him by living a holy life only for Him and for no other.

The Old Testament speaks frequently of Israel whoring after or playing the harlot with other gods (e.g., Deut. 31:16; Judg. 2:17). Jehovah had told Israel from the beginning that he would not share her with others. “You shall have no other gods before Me” was the first of his ten great commandments (Ex. 20:3).

In fact, virtually all the prophetic books [i.e. more than one quarter of the Old Testament] are concerned solely with God's dealings with the SINS of Israel and with the other nations which negatively influenced them. For over seven hundred years God continually pleaded with His people through His prophets (Jer 25:4), giving them every opportunity to return to Him, but they would not.

In fact, God told prophet Hosea, "“Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry, and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord” (Hos. 1:2), through which the prophets life was to become a object lesson to the people of Israel. Even though Gomer his wife runs away from Hosea and sleeps with another man, he loves her anyway and forgives her. Likewise, even though the people of Israel worshiped other gods, God continued to love them and did not abandon his covenant with them. But then one day she thought after bearing three children, that she has found true love and eloped with a stranger. But still Hosea wanted to see Gomer restored to his side as his faithful wife. And he believed that God was great enough to do it and bring her back to him and his children.

Gomer was still beloved of Hosea even though she was an adulteress, and God wanted him to seek her out and prove his love to her. How could anyone love that deeply? The answer was right there in God’s instructions to Hosea, “even as the Lord loves.” (Hos. 3:1). Only one who knows the love and forgiveness of God can ever love this perfectly. And one who has experienced His loving forgiveness cannot help but love and forgive others. Christian husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25), and Hosea is an outstanding biblical example of that kind of love.

One fine day he heard gossips that Gomer had been deserted by her lover. She had sold herself into slavery and had hit the bottom. So he began his search, driven by that indestructible divine love, grieved and longed for her to come home. So he began his search, he found her chained to an auction block in rags and dirt all over her, in a filthy slave market as a thrown away poor destitute, a repulsive shadow of the woman she once was. Hosea bought her from her slavery for fifteen shekels of silver and thirteen bushels of barley (Hos. 3:2). Then he said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you” (Hos. 3:3). He actually paid for her, brought her home, and eventually restored her to her position as his wife. God used Hosea’s supreme act of forgiving love to melt her heart and change her life.

When God's mercy was rejected blatantly by His own people which is the nation of Israel [i.e. the ten tribes], God put an end to his merciful ways to initiate divorce towards the people whom He had earlier married in His life. Finally God's patience ran out and reluctantly He gave them a divorce bill according to their own lustful evil desire, declaring: "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also" (Jeremiah 3:8). Even though His intention was to compel them to come under its [i.e. the Law] terms by the operation of the 'But' clauses of the covenant which set forth the penalties for its violation, God wanted the divorced wife to return back to Him and promised that one day He will bring her back in to the same covenant again (Ezek 20:33-37). What this divorce meant was that Israel will be no longer under the direct control of God, thus was soon conquered by Assyrian and Babylonian armies, and most of the people were carried away captive into exile, from which the majority never returned and became the "lost sheep of the House of Israel" (Matt 15:24; Jer 10:21, 11:15, 23:1; 50:6). After 130 years of Israel's exile, later Judah was carried away to Babylon because of disobedience to the covenant of marriage, yet Judah returned back to Israel after 70 years of Divinely set punishment in Babylon because unlike the nation of Israel, Judah was not divorced and so some remnant of the nation of Israel returned with them because of God's mercy. Again Judah hardened her heart and crucified the very prince of life whom God sent to save her from sin (Matt 1:21; Acts 2:36; 3:13-15).

But in an act of Divine mercy God again after nearly 2000 years of exile in to four corners of the world, God brought his wife who has been scattered all over the world back to the nation of Israel on 14 May 1948 and fulfilled His promise and restored His love towards them again, God has promised that no one will be able to drive them out of their land forever and ever (Amos 9:15), but still He expects them all to repent of their past and present sins through the tribulation that is coming upon then (Jer 30:7; Ezek 36:24-25; 37:21-23), and to receive Him at the time of His second coming (Zech 12:10-11; 14:1-2, 3-4, 5, 9).

What can be learn from the experience of God and Hosea to apply the time tested principles in our marital lives that can never fail?

1) When there is unfaithfulness in our marital life, we should openly tell our spouses to repent, and then forgive them.

2) When they choose not to repent of their sinful adulterous hidden life, we should tell them strongly how we will give divorce if they continue in their sinful ways without repentance (Matt 19:9). Yet we should understand that divorce is not the end, but a means to an end for all sinful life pressing them towards repentance that we should expect positively.

3) Then, we must pray for our partner sincerely if we come to know it as weakness in the flesh like Gomer the wife of the prophet Hosea, and still continue to love her with the undying love that God gives us.

4) We should forgive our wife when she tells us sincerely how she wants to stop this evil thing of adultery and stay faithful to us. When there is repentance, we should never stop forgiving, just like the Lord forgives us of all our sins which we do in the present time and then confess to Him saying sorry to Him even after a long time of living with in our salvation (1 John 1:7, 9). God restores our fellowship, when we confess to Him our sins. We should also do the same in our lives.

How many times should a husband or wife forgive? Some contend, “If I keep forgiving I simply affirm him in his pattern of sin.” Or “If I keep forgiving, she’ll think she can get away with anything she wants.” Others say, “If I keep forgiving, it’s like putting my seal of approval on his/her behavior.” Or “I can’t take another hurt like that. If he does that one more time, I’m leaving.” Those are human responses.

Listen to the response of the Lord Jesus. You see, Peter had asked the Lord this same question: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” The Lord’s answer was, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21, 22). That is a great deal of forgiveness. In fact, Christ was simply saying in a captivating way that there is no end to forgiveness.

5) Even when we know that a stubbornness has come in to the heart of the partner to break the covenant of her/his youth to run with others (Mal 2:14, 15, 16), keep praying for her (Matt 5:44; 1 Tim 2:1-2), forgive her and allow God to deal with her heart and turn her towards you to come back home. That is what Hosea did and also God as our Father in heaven does when we knowingly get addicted to sin and run away from Him spiritually as He revealed in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

6) When we hear the plight of the slavery and grief that our wife/husband goes through in her/his life, we should search for her and tell her that we still love her and want her to be back in our home. We should tell her that she should repent of her old ways and should stay faithful to us, and we should renew our covenant and promise her that we will stay faithful to her/him as she/he stays faithful to us.

7) THINK THROUGH: What interests do you both share in common? What else could you do together to strengthen your bond of oneness? What positive steps can you and your mate take to keep certain sins from repeating themselves in your lives? Having pondered over the points we have discussed, make sure that you apply it by God's help to bring a lasting solution in your life.

Having also learned the lesson of undying love from God and Hosea, know that God is very much concerned about our marriage, us and our children than we can ever be towards our children and our family, so he will judge all those who dishonor the marriage covenant which is His institution (Heb 13:4). Through out the time of great distress and sorrow in our soul for the marital problem we face, we should understand that the devil doesn't want our family life to prosper and therefore is contending with us before the Lord (John 10:10). Therefore we should take the hand of the Lord and we should learn to walk through the troubles we face in our life and through it all having the promise of God, that He will never leave us nor forsake us no matter what may happen in our life and family, we shall be content with such things as whatever we have (i.e.) the very Presence of God along with troubles which might even include a unfaithful, deceiving or a nagging wife or a husband. Once we understand and apply the above and practice the Presence of God, we will come to a place where the Presence of God will become our tower of refuge, joy, peace and merriment in the midst of all the troubles we face. Thus this higher place of faith will make us to declare boldly, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Heb 13:6). Our faith will save us and our family, and the Lord will bless us eternally.

You have every right to divorce according to the law, but you also have every choice not to condemn her according to the love of the Lord (John 8:3-10, 11, 12), and help her by forgiving her mistake to help her receive the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will make her not to sin anymore (Rom 6:14; Tit 2:11). I believe as your wife who is unfaithful because of her strengthlessness to overcome sin, when she experiences the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and His love through your life, her heart will be won over by the power of the grace of God to overcome all sins in her life (Heb 4:14-16). Encourage her to approach the throne of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in the time of her need during her temptation, if she loses her trust in her own fleshly strength to trust in His strength, she will be able to overcome with the strength of the Lord (1 Cor 10:12-13; Php 3:3). As for you, though it might be tough through it all, you will come forth like a gold and diamond through all the pressures of life, your life will be a great example to all, and more than that you will be blessed and favored by the Lord God of heaven and earth because of being transformed in to His very image in your life and character. I believe you will be a great blessing to many many in the coming days as you live by faith and overcome all trials that have come to you in your life (1 John 5:4).

Much Blessings....


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