I was pressured into adultery and gave in. Can I be forgiven?

Question:

I have a few questions. I am a Christian and committed adultery. Although there was an element of consent, this occurred in a high-pressure situation where there was intense coercion. My Christian therapist (psychologist) believes my past, with its complex trauma, and mental health condition has put me in a position where I was vulnerable and easily taken advantage of. He said that people with my type of trauma will often allow themselves to be easily exploited or even exploit themselves.

I have repented, cut all ties with this other person, asked God for forgiveness, loathe what I did, and want desperately to save my marriage. I am certain I have learned my lesson the hard way and will not do it again. Can I be forgiven of my sin, given that I was a believer when I did it? Do I have to tell my spouse? Will God forgive me if I don't tell him?

I am so scared of losing my spouse. He is a non-believer, and he often states that he does not know how to forgive others. He already harbors so many other grudges against me. I fear he will not forgive me, and I don't want to break up my family (we have a child together).

Lastly, if I tell him. and he leaves me, am I biblically commanded to be single for the rest of my life? I am so afraid to stand alone. (I don't think I can do life alone. I think I would become suicidal, as I am prone to mental health issues and am a very vulnerable and weak person who struggles being an adult. I don't think I would cope without my husband. I do not want a divorce or to marry another person. I just want to save my current marriage and give it my all.

Thanks for your help.


Answer:

When we commit sin, it can be forgiven when we repent and confess it to God. "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (I John 2:1-2).

I am glad you have taken the proactive approach to cutting off all ties. That is a good first step. Never to talk to the person again and move on with your life.  You are feeling sorrowful and it seems to be a godly sorrow because of your repentance. This will, in the end, lead to salvation of your soul (II Corinthians 7:9-11).

Should you tell your spouse? Answer is yes and no. If your husband will find out, it is better that he finds out from you than from someone else. For example: if you realize you are pregnant, or have caught an STD, or if the person is in your life often, you keep getting contacted and the person won't leave you alone, etc. The Bible indicates forgiveness of our sins comes from God because all sin is against God. In my personal study, I can't see a clear indication that one must confess their sin to their spouse when they are unaware that a sin took place. What I can find as an example was when David committed adultery. He confessed his sin to God and was immediately forgiven of his transgressions. "Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die" (II Samuel 12:13). David later wrote, "Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge" (Psalms 51:1-4). Each person must make up his own mind to tell his spouse. I truly cannot tell you to say anything or to keep quiet. Overall that is your decision alone.

If you do tell your husband, then understand he does have a right to divorce you and be married again while you would not (Matthew 19:9). You won't be able to marry again until he dies (Romans 7:1-3).

One of the issues you're facing is that you are saying you are giving your all, but you are not giving the Lord your all. If you love the Lord, then your faith should not fall apart whether you have spouse or not. My question to you is: If your husband decided to leave you without knowing about your adultery, would you still follow God?

One's faith should be dependent on God and not man's actions toward us. That is why God tells us, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37 see also: I John 2:15). Your faith is weak at the moment, to the point that it depends upon a non-believer. This will either make or break you. I suggest getting with older women who have been through life, are "examples of the faith" and you can look up to them. They can train you to be a godly wife and Christian (Titus 2:3-5). This will make your faith stable and continue, even if your husband leaves (Matthew 19:10-12) or dies in the future. After all the widow's faith continues regardless of her husband's death (I Timothy 5:5). Having older women to talk to will mean that you will have someone you can confide in during time of troubles or temptations and help with the burden of sin (James 5:16). When the time does come to be alone (if it is one day from now or 50 years), you will have a solid foundation in God and have a spiritual family to help keep you going in the right direction (Mark 10:20-30).

Your child needs a godly mother, single or married. You need to start looking to the child's needs and making him strong in the Lord. This will help strengthen you at home and will help you grow in the Lord with your child. Help one another in this way because what you will be teaching your child is the very thing you need yourself: faith, love, holiness and self-control. (I Timothy 2:15).

Concerning your suicidal tendencies: What I wrote above will help, but I also want you to look at a few articles at the end of this paragraph to understand that suicide is never the answer. Hell is far worse -- beyond your imagination -- than any feeling of misery and loneliness you have here on earth. It will be never ending. Imagine your worst day times a trillion and that is just the tip of the iceberg of how bad hell is for rest of eternity. You can't commit suicide and go to heaven. You need to understand the consequences of your action when you contemplate this route. But if you go through life following God and hold on to Him until death, you will leave all your pain, sorrow and life of misery behind and be full of joy, happiness in the Lord for eternity and never be alone. There will always be with billions of believers and God Himself in heaven (Revelation 21:2-7). You will know a love beyond imagination. Therefore, start reading the articles and listen to the sermon below to help encourage yourself during this hard time.  

by Alan Feaster

Hi Alan,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me and answer my questions. I will certainly follow up on your advice and seek some friendship and counsel from older Christian women. Thanks also for the links, I will have a read through as soon as I get a moment.

Many thanks.