Does a cheating spouse deserve to be forgiven?
Should spouses get a free pass if their significant other cheats on them? That’s a major question in society that could not be answered by saying no or yes and if anyone did answer that way, then they do not understand the full complexity of the question, and they are setting themselves up for failure in their own quest for the perfect relationship.
The question at hand will have to be broken down into not only from a biblical point of view but a psychological one as well. Growing up in America and watching movies and people interact with one another you would get the assumption that infidelity is just something that happens, and no one should get upset with the fact that it took place. According to divorcerate.org the divorce rate in the United States is between 40 and 50 percent. Well if you take a look at certain religious groups you would find that any time a woman defiles her body and even look at a man that’s not her husband wrong she could be put to death. Compare that too America’s divorce rate and that is how many people would be killed for cheating on their spouse or in jail for murder. But, wait a minute I know you are saying will that statistic really be accurate, because a lot of men cheat on their wives and get a free pass in America, and in those so called strict religious groups. Well the sword is only sharp on one side; there is a double standard in all religions and society when it comes to men and women having free passes in adultery and just life. When men cheat they are players, pimps, and sowing their oats, and when women cheat they are whores, sluts, and ungrateful to that good man.
Let us look at it from a biblical stand point and maybe that will open your eyes towards the answer of adultery and free passes. In the bible one of Jesus disciples John wrote in John 8 of one instance where an adulteress woman was brought to Jesus as he was teaching in the temple. The people that brought the lady to him wanted to shame her and dispel Jesus teaching of forgiveness by putting the Old Testament laws and his teaching against one another. Now you look at this situation and no where did you see them bring the man she was cheating with, if she is wrong isn’t he wrong too. We look in John 8 and Jesus was presented with the woman, and the men asked Jesus what shall we do with her, because the Old Testament says stone her, what do you say? See right here you have people in her business trying to manipulate the situation, that scene is similar to when women get together with their girlfriends and talk about the husband cheating, they will offer some bad advice sometimes to hype the situation up even worse than when the wife came in.. To my understanding men don’t really tell all their buddies that their wife cheated on them because men have pride in being the so called great lover. We cover it up and keep it between the two of us, which in reality it should stay there. The reason is so that we can deal with the problem, by not have everyone else over reacting to the situation and putting it back on the table way after the married couple have solved the issue.
See Jesus dealt with the problem presented before him in a very blunt but correct way. He told the men that brought the lady to him, verse 7…”If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Wow just those words alone would clear out a room full of those judging an unfaithful spouse. We all fall short of the glory of God. If you look at it from a biblical view then this answers the question at hand. Should the spouse be forgiven, without a doubt? The whole situation should bring the couple closer to God and each other. God is good.
Now we come to the part where people say I am not the religious type and I don’t believe in any religion telling me what to do in my relationship. That is fine, because there is good advice and bad advice coming from every where. Have you ever cheated on your girlfriend or boyfriend, a test at school, or lied to your parents because you didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I am sure the answer is yes to more than one if not all the questions, forgiveness is the right way to go. We all have done things to push ourselves ahead, and some things we have done was not right. In those instances if we were caught or when we look back don’t we feel ashamed and angry with ourselves, I do. If someone you have wronged say they forgive you before you forgive yourself, don’t you think that supersedes the teachings anything taught about life by society. Being unfaithful is a hard thing to get over and as the old saying goes time heals all wounds, or do we just become more mature with time, because things you do as a child you will not do as an adult. If you have never been in the situation of a cheating spouse or you being the cheater then this question will be hard for you to understand let alone swallow. As time passes on and you become more familiar with relationships refer back to this article and find your place in it. Will you forgive or will you be seeking forgiveness. Remember there is no simple answer to this question just a lot of time to think it through.
John 8 (New International Version)