Question: Hi! I am a Christian and have been married for 18 years. I have had 3 adulterous relationships over the years. One of them my husband knows about, the other 2 he does not know about. The first 2 occurred very close to each other. That was around 10 years ago. My marriage survived, but barely. The other one happened recently. It was a one-time thing. BIG mistake!
I love my husband and want to stay married, but I don’t know if I can live with the guilt. Like I said, I am a Christian and I got caught up in the desire. I knew it was wrong and I felt God telling me not to do it, but I did it anyway. My first concern is, will God forgive me even though I knew what I was doing was wrong? My other concern is, should I tell my husband? The guilt is almost more than I can stand. Any help would be appreciated.
Answer: I will start by answering your first concern. Will God forgive you even though you knew you were doing wrong? “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
According to 1 John, God does forgive our sins. 1 John is written to Christians. So, yes, God will forgive your sins, but there is something you have to do. You need to admit that you sinned (confess). The confession needs to be sincere (God knows your heart), and it needs to be done with repentance. Repentance involves turning completely away from your sin.
When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery , this is what Jesus said to her. “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.'” (John 8:10-11)
Jesus let her know that she was forgiven (He did not condemn her), but there was a condition. Go and sin no more. Jesus wanted her to repent, change direction, and no longer sin, but to follow God in obedience.
Should you tell your husband? We have answered questions similar to this in some of the other discussion questions. The short answer is yes, because your husband needs to know that he has been exposed to a lot of different diseases.
Once you had sex outside of your marriage, you exposed yourself to over 30 different diseases. Therefore, your husband has the potential of also getting these diseases. He has been exposed to these at least 3 different times. This increases the chances that you or your husband could get one or more of these diseases. You need to be tested. He needs to be tested. Some of these could be life threatening.
If you go to YouTube on the internet and type in Pam Stenzel in the search box, she gives a very enlightening and well presented talk on what a person exposes themselves and a sex partner to when they are not monogamous (having only one sex partner). There are 5 or 6 parts to this talk. She is talking to teens, but the message is for anyone who has had more than one sex partner.
I realize that telling your husband is a hard thing. It could also be the end of your marriage. According to Scripture, unfaithfulness in a spouse is a reason for getting a divorce. That doesn’t mean a person has to divorce if their spouse is unfaithful, but God does allow for it.
Marriage is built on trust. When you have sex with someone other than your spouse, you have broken that trust. It is hard to gain back trust once it is broken. Just remember that no matter how your spouse responds, you are the one who broke that trust!
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘ the two’ He says, ‘ shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-20)
When God forgives you, it is also forgotten . “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19)
If God has forgiven and forgotten your sin, you also need to forgive yourself . That means that when you begin to feel guilty, you need to give it back to God again. You do not have the right to hold onto your sin. Even though your sins are forgiven, that does not mean that you will not suffer the consequences of your sin. You may need to go through the natural consequences of your sin.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
I would also suggest that you get some good Christian counseling. If your spouse chooses to continue to work on your marriage, you will also need some marriage counseling. If you attend a good Bible-believing church, then start by talking to your pastor. He may do the counseling with you, or he may suggest someone who can give you counseling based upon the Bible and Christian principles.
Also, make sure you are attending church on a regular basis. Get involved in some kind of ministry. Read and meditate upon God’s Word daily. When temptation comes, you need to then focus back on God’s Word, and God’s plan for your life.
We will be praying for you! Write us if you have more questions.
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