Question:

I've been married for about five years. My husband just return from another country after being there a year. We had rough spots, and while he was there, he started drinking and partying a lot, which he said he did to past time. I stayed in my country with our kids and kept working full-time and finish up school.

There was a time while he was away that I asked him if he had married friends who were cheating on their wives, and he said yes. I knew this was true because I used to be in the military. When he first got back, he was drinking and stuff. Finally last weekend, he decided to come to church and confess. The next day he confess that he in fact cheated (one time). I was shock -- I had so many emotions: anquish and hurt primarily! He said it happened once and that when it did he was drunk (not an excuse by the way). But he said he felt horrible afterward. He said he had no feelings for the girl and that she even wanted to do it again and he told her no, that they shouldn't have done it the first time. He had been back for several months and just told because it had been eating at him every day. He said the lesson that was preached on in church gave him the strength to confess.

But this really hurt. Even worse, he didn't wear protection and I was upset to hear that too. But he said he got tested before leaving, which I believe is required anyway, and of course I plan to get tested as well. I lashed out yesterday and said something to him that really hurt him, so bad that he went out and drank, and his friend had to bring him home because he was so drunk. Honestly, it felt kind of good to see him hurt because I'm hurting too.

But I said I'm willing to work on our marriage although I know I may have my days, and it will take time to regain trust. But deep inside I feel he is sorry, but why did he have to do it?


Answer:

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).

Statements like this one sound straight forward until it involves a sin that hurts you personally. His sin hurts you because it is a blow against your pride, your feeling of adequacy, and your confidence in him. I can understand your hurt, though that does excuse your desire for vengeance. You should keep in mind the warning: "He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished" (Proverbs 17:5). A person falling to sin is never an occasion for joy. There should even be regret that your anger encouraged another person to sin, even though he is responsible for his own choices.

Your husband needs help. He has a problem with alcohol. He is using it as a crutch to drown out his sorrows, but those sorrows only multiply. Yes, you probably will have your days, but you too have to demonstrate self-control. "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20).

Have you thought about why he admitted his sin? He could have not said anything. He could have taken his faults to God and asked for forgiveness (I John 1:9). But the guilt of what he had done made him feel that he had to be punished. He sees himself as so depraved that he wanted to know that someone else could accept him, so that he could feel that God had accepted him as well. So he told you the truth, knowing that it would hurt him because it hurt you.

Now that you know, and you know of his repentance, your duty as a Christian is to offer forgiveness just as God forgives you. It is a tall order, but one that is an absolute "must" if you are to reach heaven. I'm pointing this out for your own soul's sake.

"Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses"" (Matthew 18:21-35).

To my sorrow I've seen far too many Christians jeopardize their salvation because they could not bring themselves to forgive a spouse of his sin, even though he has repented of them.