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Why Am I Obligated To Stay Married To An Adulterer?
by Angie Lewis
12/30/2008 / Marriage
Why is a spouse obligated to stay married to an unforgiving person? Why is a spouse obligated to stay married to someone who flirts? Why is a spouse obligated to stay married to someone who gambles, does, drugs, or looks at porn? Why is a spouse obligated to stay married to someone who says they don't love them anymore?
Why are you obligated to stay married to an adulterer? If we answer this question out of "love feelings" then it would seem ridiculous to be obligated to stay married under these circumstances. But when you answer this question under the principle of the "commitment to love" it changes the equation drastically, doesn't it.
God did not design marriage for you to base your actions on feelings. God designed marriage for you "to love" even when you don't "feel" like it.
You are obligated to stay married to an adulterer because marriage is for better or worse. Maybe the "worse" part is when your spouse falls away from God and commits adultery, but you are still married. Marriage does not end because times are rough and your spouse is enslaved within sinful lust. Marriage does not end just because you don't think you are in love anymore. Marriage does not end just because you say so.
God instituted marriage as a lifetime commitment. And it has been that way from the beginning. We become one flesh when we enter into the sacred institution of marriage. We are joined into wedlock until one spouse dies. Only God can end marriages through death.
For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. (Romans 7:2)
Man cannot separate what God has joined. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. (Matthew 19:6).
Man cannot separate what God has joined? This is difficult to believe!
When the apostles heard Christ's word on marriage, they said, "then it is better not to marry" (Matthew 19:10). I don't think the apostles would have said that, if Jesus' teaching had all the modern-day escape clauses.
In reality, there is no escape from marriage, just as there is no escape from Christ.
The only way someone would not understand "why" they are obligated to stay married to an adulterer is if they think they don't sin, and therefore do not need forgiveness. This is why Christ said, "if any of you is without sin, let him be first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7) Everyone dropped their stones and went home.
Did you know that if you do not forgive the adulterer, Christ will not forgive you your sins? Does this mean unforgivness is a sin? I think it does. It means that having an unforgiving heart is a "hardened heart." If the adulterer has stopped in their sin and is willing to work on the marriage, then it is your duty to allow that to happen through forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act of love and self-sacrifice it is the commitment to love.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
But what should a married person do when the adulterer continues in the affair or keeps cheating over and over again?
The spouse of an adulterer is obligated to stay married to an adulterer. But if the unbeliever continues in their sinful ways, what can you do but let them go. The only alternative would be for the believer to deny their own faith to preserve the marriage, which in many instances would be worse than letting the unbeliever go.
But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (1 Corinthians 7:15)
The above verse is not a loophole for divorce. In fact, it says nothing about divorce. It states, "If the unbeliever leaves, let him do so." It does not say, "If the unbeliever wants a divorce, give it to him." No, it does not say that. Divorce may be legal with the state, but in God's eyes, even if you divorce, you are still married, unless husband or wife dies. Period!
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Read more articles by Angie Lewis
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