A guest post by a sister in the Lord – “Fortified by Christ”
I recently read April’s post about how a godly woman should respond to a husband’s infidelity and it made me reflect on how I treated my father when he got involved in an unrepentant affair. I did exactly the opposite of what her post suggests. I responded with anger, hatred, scorn, revenge and cruelty. My goal was to punish him and make him suffer for what he did. I said the most terrible things you can imagine to him and about him and lashed out at him in every way I could.
I even contacted his other woman and sent her nasty letters telling her the worst things you can imagine. The way I treated them both was absolutely evil and was an open invitation to Satan to enter my heart and ruin years of my life. It turned me into a hateful, bitter, angry and cruel person. Because of that, I basically had no friends since I would do hurtful things to offend people and they would avoid me like the plague.
I have since repented and God has slowly opened my eyes to my sinfulness and healed me. I have a whole new heart, mind and soul now! I cling to the Bible very closely and try to follow God’s direction in every part of my life. I’m now warm, positive, loving, patient and forgiving to everyone. Now that I know the evil I’m capable of, I really hang onto Christ because He is the only good thing in me.
I would never recommend that anyone reacts to a family member’s sin the way I did. No matter how hurt or disgusted you are, it is essential to seek godly counseling and aim to act in a godly way. Don’t let anyone encourage you to hang onto anger or get revenge on anyone.
As someone who reacted in 100% the wrong way and faced devastating emotional and psychological consequences, I would like to advise you to do the following:-
- Seek godly counseling – The pain and betrayal you feel is real. A lot of people may dismiss your feelings by saying that it’s not really your problem or that you’re not the person being cheated on, but that is not true. Your pain is real and totally legitimate. When your parents’ marriage is shaken due to adultery, your pain is real whether you are 5 years old or 35 years old. Seek godly counseling to work through it.
- Remember that your parents are sinners – Don’t expect your parents to be flawless, sinless people. They are wretched sinners who need salvation just like everyone else. As the Word says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “no one is good but God alone” (Luke 18:19). Expecting them to be perfect or demanding that they change is guaranteed to lead to emotional devastation on your part.
- Forgiveness is not approval – You may think that forgiving your adulterous parent would be similar to approving of their actions but it isn’t. Forgiveness just means that you accept that they are wretched sinners in need of salvation and you pray for them and wish them well. (From April – It also means that you see the sin against you, but you no longer hold it against the person but entrust it to the Lord to handle. Check out April’s post on forgiveness.)
- Family life is not a group grade – The Word commands married people to not commit adultery. The Word also commands us to honor our parents. In fact, that particular commandment is the only one with a promise. I believe that God attached a promise to that commandment because He knew that our sinful parents would disappoint and hurt us in many ways. However, the command stands that we are to honor our parents, even if they betray the family through adultery. You don’t need to respect or approve of their choices. You only need to honor them. Don’t bash them to everyone who would listen. Don’t resort to punishing or humiliating them. Aim to treat them with respect, while also making it clear that you don’t approve of their actions.
- Cling to God and His Word: The Word tells us that even if our mother or father forsake us, the Lord will take us in (Psalm 27:10). It also tells us that God will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Even if one of your parents hurts or betrays you, you have a firm and reliable promise that your Lord will never do that. Read God’s Word and personalise it. Firmly believe that every word applies to you – not just to all people in general – but to YOU in particular. God is the ultimate parent and he will never let you down.
- Run from adultery yourself: As someone who was deeply affected by my father’s adulterous choices, I have seen how evil adultery is. It really unleashes a demon into a family that is hard to drive out. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seem to know how evil adultery is and fall into it unwittingly. If any man who is married or has a girlfriend approaches you for an affair or a close friendship, run from him like you would run from a burning house. Don’t even agree to meet him for coffee. A seemingly harmless and innocent conversation over coffee can lead to a devastating sinful entanglement that can cause deep pain and heartache to many people, including you. Affairs always start with “harmless” texts or phone calls so you need to be very smart and aware at all times. When men like that call you, don’t answer your phone. When they text you, just delete it. Block him on Whatsapp and Facebook. Don’t engage in any kind of communication and he will eventually give up on you and leave you alone. Don’t be afraid to be “rude” or “hurt his feelings”. The Word of God does not command us to be polite (from April – particularly to those who seek to harm us spiritually intentionally or unintentionally). Protect yourself from being manipulated into being anyone’s “other woman”. Focus on being God’s #1 woman.
I hope that my story this has been helpful to you. You are welcome to respond with comments.