Infidelity and the Bible

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I am always amazed at how quickly my favorite day of the year comes and goes. A part of me feels sad when Christmas Day ends. The anticipation and preparations are over, and worst of all, my family leaves to go back to their own homes.

Back to reality. I have been talking about infidelity. What an uncomfortable word.

I want to look at what the Bible says about adultery and divorce. There are many references to marrying someone else after you’ve divorced as committing adultery, but no specific verses that deal with adultery as a reason for divorce.

In Matthew 19 verse 3, the Pharisees followed Jesus to Judea. They tempted Jesus with questions about divorce. In verse 3, they ask, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

Jesus answers in verses 4 and 5, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’”

The Pharisees then asked Jesus in verse 7, “ Why then did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus responds in verses 8 and 9 by saying, “ Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

A couple of commentaries I’ve read on these verses use this as justification to divorce if a spouse commits adultery. I personally don’t agree.

Verse 9 says, “Anyone who divorces his wife… and marries another woman commits adultery.” In the middle of that sentence are the words, “except for marital unfaithfulness.” To me, that means if the wife has committed adultery then the husband will not be committing adultery by marrying a new wife. (Or vice versa.)

While it is not clear in the Bible that adultery is justification for divorce, God’s word does speak over and over about forgiveness. Malachi 2:16 also says, “ ‘I hate divorce’, says the Lord God of Israel.”

We are too quick to “throw in the towel” when a spouse commits adultery. Every couple I’ve known who has faced the anguish of infidelity, but have continued with their marriage, have worked through the issues and have moved on to a more satisfying, healthy relationship.

God sees no degrees in sin, so adultery is like any other sin. While it wounds our very soul, adultery is not worth tearing a family apart by allowing feelings to get in the way of an opportunity to grow closer to God, and to your spouse.

To be continued…

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