A Christian friend of mine's husband began seeing someone else. She is not sure that he has actually committed the physical act of adultery, but it doesn't matter to her, since she believes that just having the "adultery in his heart" was grounds for a Biblical divorce. What do you think? Her husband now wants to get a divorce too.
Well her husband is a foolish man. If he is truly a Christian, and involved in actual adultery, then he will suffer severe discipline from the Lord, not as punishment, but as the discipline from a loving Father, for the gross disobedience. If he doesn't repent and restore the relationship then life could get very difficult for him.
While it is true that Jesus said, if a person lusts in their hearts then they are charged with the sin of adultery, it is not the thought, but the act that allows for divorce. If your friend wants to set the "thought" as the standard, then she must do it for all of her life, and if she ever marries again, and someday has a lustful thought of another man, then she would have to confess it to her husband as an act of adultery--really kind of foolish. We confess the sinful thoughts to the Lord, not necessarily to our mates.
However, the fact that her husband was "seeing someone else" raises some concerns. If this "seeing someone else" was a love relationship with another woman, then adultery most likely occurred. We don't need to get too technical, but adultery could occur by the embrace, or the touching of another sexually--sexual intercourse is not the deciding factor. I hate to use the illustration of President Clinton, but since it is such a well-known case. There was adultery without apparent intercourse.
We should not be looking, or hoping for the adultery to take place, so we can be free. Rather we should be praying and pleading with the Lord to save the marriage. However, there comes a time when the adultery hurts us so much that we can no longer live with that person, because the sacred trust was violated. Some can forgive and live with the forgiven spouse and not be affected too much, others become so crushed that they could never be intimate with that person again, and that is why God has made allowance for divorce in those situations.
I know of a Christian man whose wife has committed numerous acts of adultery with different men, then left her three children and husband and moved in with her latest lover. Her husband is waiting for the Lord to convict her heart and return home. He feels that he must be like Hosea with his prostitute wife, and always forgive her no matter what. I couldn't do that and don't believe that is what God is asking Christians to do.
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:
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