Question:

I was married to my wife for over ten years before I finally confessed my affairs. She was devastated and divorced me. We have children whom we share equal custody of. After being divorced for a number of years, she remarried. I am happy that God blessed her with someone who wouldn't do to her what I did to her.

I have two issues or questions:

  1. I am still feeling very convicted and guilty, especially seeing how my actions have hurt our children. I am a devoted dad and am with my children all the time, but they are still hurting over the divorce. I am a follower of Jesus, but I do not feel worthy of forgiveness. I feel I deserve whatever punishment God doles out. I just want my children to be happy and healthy. So the question is, how can I get over this guilt?
  2. I have been dating a wonderful lady. We are in a monogamous relationship, and I have been faithful to her both in actions and in spirit. I no longer lust after women like I used to, so I also know that I have repented of the sin of adultery. Of course, I am a sinner by nature, so I commit other sins. I love this woman and want to marry her. From a scriptural perspective, am I allowed to marry her? My ex-wife has been re-married for several years. What if my ex-wife divorces her husband and wants to reconcile with me? Would I be bound to re-marry my ex-wife?

Answer:

"And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9).

When one partner in a marriage commits adultery, the innocent party has the option to divorce the unrepentant adulterer and may marry someone else if he or she so chooses. The adulterer remains bound by the terms of his marriage covenant. Anyone marriage enters into will be adulterous so long as his original spouse is alive. "So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery"" (Mark 10:11-12). It is a hard command, but it illustrates how serious God sees the covenants that we make.

Since you were the guilty party, to be obedient to God, you would have to remain unmarried. Sadly, the way you worded you question, you hint that you are already having sex with another woman without being married to her. "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). You justify it to yourself because you are only having sex with one woman, but this doesn't excuse sex outside of marriage. So while you claim that you repented of adultery, you are continuing the sin because you are still bound by your marriage covenant.

Your former wife is bound by her marriage covenant to her new husband. She cannot divorce him, except if he is committing fornication, to marry anyone else, including you. Even if that should happen, she is not required to remarry you, nor are you forced into remarrying her, even if that would improve your children's situation.

Guilt is there to remind us that we did wrong and that we should not repeat it. To not feel guilty for destroying your marriage just for sex would be far worse. That doesn't mean you walk around the rest of your life with a cloud over your head. What you should do is fully change and submit yourself to God's will. While life might not be perfect, you can then at least look at yourself and know you are doing the best that you can.

I can go with that I shouldn't be having sex with my girlfriend, however, I do not see in the scriptures where it says I cannot remarry, since my ex-wife has re-married, and she divorced me. You quote New Testament scriptures, which I know very well, but I did not divorce my wife, she divorced me, so this scripture does not apply to my situation, except giving her the right to divorce me, which she did. Please show me where in the scriptures it says that I cannot remarry. Thanks.

"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery" (Luke 16:18).

"But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 5:32).

"And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9).

Since adultery involves two people, the divorcee and the one who marries the divorcee are committing the sin of adultery.

I disagree with your interpretation of these Scriptures. I committed adultery directly; however, these passages address the one who does the divorcing. You have added concepts to these Scriptures which simply are not there. You claim to strictly interpret the Bible; yet, you add Scripture when it suits your religious agenda. You can't have it both ways. The Scripture is what it is and neither you, nor anyone other human being has the right to add to it.

By the way, you are not the judge of whether I am being obedient to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have sole claim to judge whether or not I am doing His will. You are a fellow Christian, trying the best you can to help others based on your interpretation of Scripture; however, your interpretations are not the only interpretations. My final authorities are the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible.

Thank you for your responses and peace be with you.

"So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (II Peter 1:19-21).