I don’t get tons of emails, don’t let me make you think I’m cool, but I do get to hear from people from all over the world. A few are a little surreal. These are the ones from the betrayed.
A recently betrayed wanted to know how she can show grace and God’s love to her husband and her children, even though she knows her marriage may not survive.
I think this is a little sample of what redemption looks like: The betrayed are writing a betrayer to find out how to show grace.
I wiped this response clean of fingerprints and am sharing it because I think that many people have the same questions.
To The Betrayed:
I can tell you how my ex-husband handled me because he was a good example.
I can’t tell you what he was thinking, but I can tell you that he never made me feel like I couldn’t be forgiven, that he couldn’t forgive me, or that I was a lost cause.
He filed for divorce because I didn’t give him any hope for our marriage at all. My behavior back then is not something I am proud of, that I am happy with, or that I can even recognize in the woman I have become as a result of all of this. It’s only because of grace that I am not wracked with shame.
Forgiveness takes time. Don’t push yourself to have something that God has not given you. It’s pure freedom and compassion when it comes, but for some, it takes a very long time. It’s worse to claim that you’ve forgiven when you cannot. People claim forgiveness because “it’s the right thing to do”, but that only leaves a vast emptiness that breeds the weeds of resentment and bitterness. I have seen that in people and they don’t know why it’s happening. It’s like claiming freedom while still dragging shackles. It’s having cleared land with no new seeds of redemption to scatter.
The best thing you can do is to recognize that your husband is a broken human being, working through his own demons in a very destructive way. But, when God sees him, He sees a broken little boy who will come home one day and He’s keeping his place at the table until then. God loves him, no matter what. You can’t fix him, you can’t fix your marriage, and you can’t control what will come of this.
My ex-husband was very adamant about being different than the rest of my old friends. They told me that I couldn’t be forgiven and if I tried, I would be seen as faking it. To them, I will always be lost. I have letters to prove it. This angered my ex-husband because, even though I hurt him deeply, he still knew that something good would come out of it. And it has. He knew that God would take care of me and him as we worked together to get through the mess I made. We’re seven years after the fact, and we’re better people, spouses, parents, Christians, because of it.
I don’t know how your husband feels about his choices. Some people can justify their way out of feeling the full brunt of their mistakes. They can blame others and they can blame circumstances, but none of it will set them free.
I can tell you that I hated what I did. I couldn’t believe I was capable of it and had to face the fact that I was. I had to face my worst and then feel the doubt of God’s forgiveness and the terror that comes with that.
Satan is not finished trying to destroy your husband and he’ll try to destroy you, too. If your husband cares about God at all, Satan is all over him, trying to make him feel like God could never forgive him, that he can never come back to right, that he’ll never be whole again. Betrayed, Satan is trying to get everyone to believe that what Jesus did was not enough and he jumps all over fallen Christians, especially when they think their salvation depends on their actions. Legalism enslaves people and when they fall, it destroys them. It’s from the father of lies. Steal, kill, and destroy.
The best thing you can do for this entire situation is to fight for the truth. I’m not talking about the truth that adultery is horribly wrong. Nobody needs convincing of that, even your husband. Fight for the truth that Jesus died for us. He died to keep our worst sins from separating us from God and it worked!!!
Your marriage may not ever be restored, but your husband can be. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to have the ending that everybody would like to see. God does what He needs to do to get us to REALLY see Him, what He has done for us, and He doesn’t play by our rules.
Grace is challenging. You’re figuring that out now.
Make sure that your children know that everybody makes bad choices. If they didn’t, then Jesus would not have had to come. Make sure they know that He loves them, He loves your husband, and He’ll take care of all of you. Love him through this, even if it’s just the kind of love that recognizes that he is still alive and God’s arms are not too short for him. Stand up for what you believe Jesus did…even when it costs you.
And please know that this isn’t your fault. It says nothing about you as a wife or a mother. You’re going to make it through this and you don’t have to question yourself or beat yourself up. God lets our damage surface so He can redeem it, not so He can punish us. When the damage surfaces, it’s horribly ugly, so don’t be fooled by it. Keep your focus on the cross, not on the sin and the damage. No truth or life can come from looking at the sin.
I hope I helped. It was good to hear from you, although I wish it was under less painful circumstances.