“I have forgiven my offender, but I do not trust him/her!”
Guess what? That is an entirely fair statement!
Forgiveness is a requirement by God. Trust is earned!
When I am counseling couples, the two are often confused so I would like to share two encounters with you dealing with adultery.
Two Counseling Case Histories
The first couple came in reeling from adultery. The husband had lied, gotten caught, said he was sorry and expected the wife to forgive him. She did, but she did not trust him. The husband felt like he had been transparent long enough. After just three months of good behavior, he expected full reconciliation and the subject forgotten. The wife sat on my couch in tears because her feelings were being minimized, and her concerns silenced.
This gave fertile ground for the demonic kingdom to root in the wife’s heart.
Demons of bitterness, resentment, frustration, impatience, and anger did their best work in a concealed dark place of silence.
God heals in the light! Confronting the wound makes you stronger, concealing it gives the enemy a battleground.
This couple did not reconcile because the husband did not have a repentant heart. However, the wife was able to forgive, set clear boundaries, and turn her heart to God alone. She came in for deliverance and fixed her eyes on the future. She was free. Her husband went back to the other woman and fell into a downward cycle that separated him from God.
The other couple came in broken. The husband had confessed to having an affair and asked the wife to forgive him. He had a contrite and humble heart that was convicted by God. The mans was repentant, willing to submit to full transparency; giving her access to his cell phone, Facebook, and email. He severed all ties with the other woman, changed jobs, and went through deliverance. He was set free and healed, but the wife struggled with bitterness for a long time. His admission shocked her after thirty years of marriage, and her wounded heart wanted him punished.
Because of the husband’s love for his wife, God prevailed. She eventually came in for deliverance and chose to fix her eyes forward on the future with her husband at her side. They are a testimony for others dealing with adultery.
Five Key Elements
- Trust takes time to establish. There are time limits in the Bible for grieving and many other things, but not for rebuilding trust. With adultery, I suggest the offender be open to questioning, along with the transparency of all social media and text messages. However, there is a time limit for such testing, much like punishment it has a beginning and an end. If this time is not defined, it will render the offender hopeless.Both spouses need to plan to move forward with deliverance. From that point on it can all be put under the blood of Jesus and healed. This path is essential for couples in crisis, and it is also why they need a more extended amount of time in counseling before deliverance. Without deliverance, spouses wind up babysitting demons waiting for them to manifest. It can become a tormenting cycle of distrust if those spirits of lust and bitterness are not cast out.
- Look for the humble, contrite heart of repentance. Getting caught in the act and saying, “I’m sorry” is not going to manifest the fruit of the spirit. The offender needs to own their sin, and not use “sorry” to smooth out the relationship and expect the subject dropped. The real fruit of the Holy Spirit needs to be seen in a person’s life before trust can be established fully.
- Set clear boundaries and goals for your marriage. The most loving thing you can do for your offender is to set limits they can understand and work toward. Without explicit instruction, it becomes a guessing game of frustration for both spouses.
- Do not rush the process. Seeds are planted and take time to grow. Too many couples rush and make compromises with God’s timing and end up circling the mountain over and over again.
- Adultery is not always the end of the marriage, but it takes two people committed to God willing to forgive and take the time to rebuild the foundation of trust.
If you are in the battle, get help. Deliverance for both husband and wife, along with couples counseling, should be part of your path to reconciliation. Don’t have access to help where you live? Set up an appointment with one of our counselors.
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