Question:

I have a friend who has approached me about problems in his marriage. They have been married for a few years. The couple are Christians, attends church, and are active in the church. He told me he was struggling in his marriage. He revealed to me that he was committing adultery. When I inquired further, it turned out that he was actually not sleeping with only one woman but three women. It wasn't one time affairs, he confessed to me that he has done it several times.

At the beginning of their marriage, the wife had an extra marital relationship and he told me it was resolved and so he was not doing this as a sign of revenge. He also thinks that his wife is not in any way to blame for the sins he has been committing.

Question:
1. How do I advise him out of this and what's the best possible way to communicate to the wife about what the husband has been doing behind her back?
2. What is your advice on this brother's service in church?


Answer:

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

In speaking about false teachers, Peter said, "But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness" (II Peter 2:12-15).

Those who serve the church are to be examples to their fellow Christians. "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (I Timothy 4:12). This man is failing his duty to God, his brethren, and his wife.

You don't describe a man who has a momentary weakness, but one who is a compulsive adulterer. You left me with the impression that he didn't so much freely admit his sins as you dragged it out of him when he came to talk about other marital problems.

I would tell this man that he needs to leave his service to the church until such time as he gets himself under control. If he doesn't voluntarily step down, then get several of the respected men of the church to join you in talking with this man about the problem. In other words, treat this as Matthew 18:15-17 states to handle problems, even though this isn't a personal offense against you. This man's soul is lost, so you need to come down hard on him in hopes of turning him around.

If he appears to be unrepentant and you suspect that he is continuing to commit adultery, then I would have a private talk with his wife. She needs to be warned before further harm is done. But if he does appear to have made a dramatic change, then don't get between this man and his wife. They will have to settle their issues their own way.

If I read this wrong and this man is truly repentant, I would still suggest that he step down until he can prove himself under control. Discuss the motivations behind his affairs. Talk to him about measures he needs to take to reduce the temptations in his life. No one can make him be faithful, but if he wants help, talk to him about ways he thinks you can help him be responsible. But make sure he understands that if he continues, eventually his sins will be discovered. "But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).

In handling this problem, make sure that only the barest minimum number of people know about what is going on as possible. The hope is that this man will turn from his sins and if he does, the less damaged his reputation the quicker things can be restored to the way they ought to have been.