How to Forgive Your Cheating Spouse

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Marriages must survive in order to thrive. Partners must strive to put the other’s needs and desires over their own as an act of servanthood. This is a challenge in any setting. Naturally when two people come together in a marriage covenant as believers in Christ, and things deteriorate, the covenant wains. Those partners that find themselves in a situation where one cheats and breaks the covenant, must strive put aside the intense hurt, betrayal and insecurities, to move to heal and forgive.

Those words roll on to the page so easily...but the reality of how to accomplish this is another matter. Whether the marriage survives this devastating blow, or ends in a broken relationship, the partners must learn to forgive.

Patrick Payton, lead pastor at Stonegate Fellowship in Midland, Texas, speaks this way of forgiveness.

“Perhaps no other action displays who we are as followers of Jesus and more profoundly reflects the heart of Jesus than how we handle offense and forgiveness.”

Understanding forgiveness requires us to understand what forgiveness is not.

It is not approving what someone has done or seeking to justify the sin. God does not approve or justify our sin, but he does change our position as “justified” in spite of my sin, because of the cross. Jesus covered our sin once and for all with his sacrifice and blood.

It’s not denial of wrong or indifference. Sin cost Jesus his life. But, God made a way for our position before him to be different in spite of our sin by His grace.

In Matthew 6: 14-15, Payton says we can replace the word forgiveness with “abandon it, to leave it alone, to set it aside, and choose to never pick it up again”, as the ideal picture of what practical forgiveness looks like.  The passage speaks of how we handle forgiving others as the way God handles our forgiveness.

Many of us are struggling so much in our forgiveness that we believe it would be easier for God ro raise the dead than to give us what we need to forgive an adulterous spouse.

Colossians 3:12 uses the word “Forgiveness” the same way that “Grace” becomes an action word. When sin is covered and paid for by Christ, God chooses to “Grace” us with His joy and love for us. As we heal through this love, we must trust in that love and truly believe we are loved. As we ground ourselves in His love, in turn, we can “Grace” others (and eventually our spouse).

This action of grace means we are still aware of all that took place, and we still choose to bless, to seek and give joy, and never pick up that bitterness and unforgiveness again. It requires real heart change, which only comes through the continual relationship maintained through prayer and hearing God through his word daily, and asking God to bring the change. What results is the miracle.

“Forgiveness is the most miraculous action in the Christian’s life” - CS Lewis

RelationshipsHeidi McDow