Question:

My husband and I separated because he committed adultery. A few months later I too committed adultery one time because I was stupid and lonely.

I am closer to the Lord now and I knew it was and know it is wrong for what I did too. Will He forgive us? Can we still go to Heaven?

I asked God for forgiveness, but I have not told my husband. Should I?


Answer:

Adultery, like most sins, is forgivable by God. John once wrote, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10). Everyone sins, but the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that a Christian does not want to stay in sin. The Christian will go to the Father and confess his sins, knowing that God has promised to forgive him. This a part of faith -- trusting God to uphold His promises.

Marriage, too, is to be built on trust.

  1. Will telling your husband give him more trust in you or less?
  2. Will it strengthen your relationship or strain it?

Often times we want to tell everything in the mistaken notion that it will increase trust, but the reality is that trust is undermined.

There is a concept that most Americans have lost that is called "shame." Forgiveness removes the obligation we owe to someone else. Forgiveness by God removes the debt we incurred by our sins. But forgiveness will not remove our memory of what we did. For example, Paul makes mention several times that he was a murderer in his past (Acts 26:9-11; I Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Philippians 3:6; I Timothy 1:15). It is not that Paul was unable to forgive himself. Paul was amazed that God would see fit to forgive someone who was so sinful. God wants us to have the right attitude toward sin. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart - these, O God, You will not despise." (Psalm 51:17). Our service to God is colored with our sense of shame for what we have done and our thankfulness that God has seen fit to overlook them.

Our sins ought to bother us. We don't ever want to become so calloused to sin that it doesn't affect us (I Timothy 4:1-2). It is the wicked who have no shame over sin (Zephaniah 3:5). But David told us, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." David is not advocating protecting the sinner in his sins, but protecting the repentant believer from the shame of his sins. Yes, I have commit errors in my past, but why bring those errors up over and over again? If I have done as God had asked in confessing my faults, then it is time to leave the faults behind and press on to better things. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

There may come a time when it is appropriate to share the fact that you have weaknesses too, but right now the goal is to rebuild a marriage.

June 23, 2013