Is it possible for your relationship to survive adultery? Do you believe there is a way to repair the bond that has been broken? Many couples go through this agony every year in our country. Some end in divorce while others carry on and rebuild their relationship. I believe there is a way for healing to occur if both partners are willing to do the work necessary to mend their shattered marriage. If infidelity has occurred in your relationship you probably believe this is the darkest moment of your life, but if you will allow God to shine His light upon you through His Word, He will guide you to the answers you are searching for. Where should you begin?
1. Acknowledge God’s first desire. Your heart may not be ready to hear it; but the Father has made it very clear through His Word and by His actions that He is a God of reconciliation. He longs for His adulterous children to come back to Him. God told the prophet Jeremiah to declare to the nation Israel, who had played the harlot with other gods, “Go and proclaim these words … and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD. ‘Return, O backsliding children,’ says the LORD; ‘for I am married to you’ ” (Jer. 3:12-14). These words clearly reveal that God’s heart is for reconciliation with those who violate their covenant with Him. The only requirement was for Israel to acknowledge and repent of their sin, and God promised to have mercy and receive them back. The last thing the Father wanted was to divorce them. His first desire was, and always is, to seek reconciliation. I believe God’s example reveals that this should also be your first desire.
Many of you are probably thinking, But, why did Jesus allow divorce for adultery in Matthew 19:9? He permitted divorce in such cases where the offender refused to acknowledge his or her sin and repent. How can you be sure that this was the deciding factor? Simply return to the context of the passage quoted above and you will find that even God declared His right to divorce Israel because she would not return and repent. God also told Jeremiah: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also” (Jer. 3:6-8). Note that the key to this passage is the fact that God called to His people and asked them to return, but they refused. Even though Israel and Judah refused His request, God continued to appeal to them. Finally, because of the hardness of their hearts and many years of rejection He put them away into captivity.
Therefore, this example makes it clear that God’s first desire is always to seek reconciliation. Why? “He hates divorce” for it results in the destruction of a relationship and family (Mal. 2:16). He did not want this divorce from His people, but was forced to deliver it because they steadfastly pursued their other lovers.
Consequently, if there is a possibility for reconciliation, why not pursue it? Why miss the opportunity to see your marriage healed and your family restored? Jesus taught that divorce only occurs “because of the hardness of your hearts” (Matt. 19:8). I’ve personally witnessed this hardness in both the heart of the adulterer who has refused to repent from the adulterous relationship, and in the heart of an offended spouse who is refusing to forgive and actively seek reconciliation.
Therefore, are you willing to ask the Lord for what He wants? If you are, begin by asking Him for a willing heart to seek reconciliation. If both husband and wife are willing, you can reconcile anything. Remember, Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). Do you believe His Word? If you refuse to seek His heart in this matter or refuse His power, it will be impossible to reconcile your relationship. Make your decision! Are you willing to let the Lord influence your decision-making and help you reconcile? If you are, continue with the following steps.
COVENANT KEEPERS © 2014
Like what Pastor Steve Carr has to say? Check out How Can Prayer Build Your Marriage?
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, please visit us on the Internet at www.covenantkeepers.org