Question:

Hi Jeff,

Stumbling on your web site was nothing short of a miracle. I've been searching the same set of questions over the years, but I've never seen your web site.

I've lost all the sense of peace I have in this world. I am heavily burdened; I can actually almost touch the burden. I am married to a pastor. We've been married almost ten years but a few years after we married, my hubby was asked to go start a parish. I was so against it because I never bargained for it. Within a year I had an affair. I sincerely regret doing what I did. I've since stopped and repented. I know you have answered similar questions on your web site but this seems to be peculiar.

We have been trying to have kids since we got married. I got pregnant naturally at some point but had a miscarriage. I haven't been able to get pregnant since. I am caught in a quandry about telling my husband this secret, so I can have some peace and hopefully get pregnant. I do not know if the guilt or burden I have is from God or the devil. The upsetting thing about all of this is that I can't even pray because every time I try to pray I feel I hear a voice saying to me I am just wasting my time. There was a day in particular I assume I heard God telling me I've forgiven you but you still need to confess. I do not know if I am disobeying God by not telling my hubby.

My church hammers a lot on restitution and every time I hear that word my heart skips, and I hear it almost every other day. Our general overseer says repentance is not complete without restitution. I am tired. Where I come from its forgiveable when a man cheats on his wife but when it comes to the wife cheating, it's like an abomination. I still want my marriage, I really do. As a minister's wife when you do such things they bring it to the open in church and tell all the workers. How can I leave with that?

The Bible says I should have a clear conscience with God and man. It also says every secret thing shall be brought to the open. Where does that leave my secret? I am scared. I do not know if my lack of peace is because I am disobeying God and not telling my hubby. Help me please. I want my life back.


Answer:

Let's start back. There are millions of women who have difficulty getting pregnant, so the fact that you are among them is not novel. Nor does it indicate that those millions of women are all involved in sin.

What a particular group teaches is meaningless. What a culture practices is irrelvelant. What you imagine in your head doesn't make something so. Only God determines what is right, and He had it completely recorded for us in the Bible (II Timothy 3:16-17). Repentance is changing your mind about sin and changing your behavior. "For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:11).

Sometimes restitution is called for when a person repents. It doesn't do to claim to have changed while profitting from the sin you've committed. This is why Zacchaeus went beyond the law's requirements: "Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold"" (Luke 19:8). But there are sins where restitution is not possible. A murderer cannot bring his victim back to life.

So in what way is telling your husband that you sinned in the past going to restore anything to him? It would appear that you would destroy his trust, destory his marriage, and destroy his reputation all for something that was forgiven long ago and should have been buried. What would demonstrate your repentance is how well you treat you husband and in that you would be returning what you took away when you were sinning. Show him and the world that you respect your husband (Ephesians 5:33).

God does require confession to Him (I John 1:9). He does not say that confession to anyone else is required for forgiveness. When you hurt someone, you tell them that you hurt them so they know you've changed (Luke 17:3-4). But in this case, you sinned against yourself (I Corinthians 6:18). While your husband could have been harmed by your unfaithfulness, you stopped before that happened. What is needed now is you doing all you can to make your marriage wonderful for him.

Supposed you were really angry with a neighbor, angry enough that you probably would have punched him if you happened to meet him at the time. But you got control of yourself and calmed down. What do you do? You tell God and apologize for your lack of self-control. But it would not do your neighbor any good for you to tell him, "Remember last week? I was so angry with you I could have knocked you down!" Rather because he did not know what had happened, you let the issue go because telling him that would harm the relationship you are supposed to have with your neighbor. Instead, you make him a big cherry pie and when he asks, "Why?" You just say, "Because I felt like doing it."

Sin has to be exposed, but forgiven sin is to be buried.

"Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).

"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins" (Proverbs 10:12).

"He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends" (Proverbs 17:9).

If you are unable to get pregnant, you should see a doctor to find out why. You can also do a child a world of good by adopting.