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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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Dear Minister: Should I Divorce Her, or Forgive Her?

By Pastor Joshua Kennedy

By Pastor Joshua Kennedy

Dear Minister: My wife had an affair while I was on a business trip and told me about it. I don’t know whether to divorce her or forgive her; my uncle told me not to be the one to throw the first stone. What do you advise?

Answer: I’m sorry to hear about the difficult situation you’re facing. From a biblical perspective, several fundamental principles can guide your decision:

  1. Forgiveness and Grace: The Bible emphasizes forgiveness as a core principle of Christian life. Jesus teaches in Matthew 18:21-22 that we should forgive “not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” In Ephesians 4:32, Paul writes, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning sin but releasing the burden of anger and seeking to heal.
  2. Adultery and Grounds for Divorce: The Bible does recognize adultery as a severe sin and provides it as a potential ground for divorce. In Matthew 19:9, Jesus says, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” This indicates that while divorce is permitted in the case of adultery, it is not mandated.
  3. Restoration and Reconciliation: If both spouses are willing, the Bible encourages reconciliation and restoration of the marriage. In 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, Paul advises married couples to work toward reconciliation if possible. This requires a mutual commitment to repentance, counseling and rebuilding trust.
  4. Love and Commitment: Marriage is a covenant relationship based on love and commitment. Ephesians 5:25 instructs husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This sacrificial love involves working through difficulties and seeking God’s guidance.

Given these principles, here are some steps you might consider:

  1. Seek God’s Guidance: Spend prayer, seeking God’s wisdom and guidance. Ask for clarity and peace in your heart as you contemplate your decision.
  2. Counseling and Support: Consider seeking counseling from a trusted pastor or Christian marriage counselor. This can provide a safe space to explore your feelings, understand the reasons behind the affair and work toward healing.
  3. Open Communication: Have honest and open conversations with your wife about the affair, its impact on your relationship, and the steps you both are willing to take moving forward.
  4. Evaluate Your Heart: Reflect on your ability to forgive and whether you can rebuild trust. Forgiveness is crucial, as is the willingness to move forward positively together.
  5. Consider the Bigger Picture: Consider the long-term implications of divorce and reconciliation. How will each path affect your spiritual life, family, and overall well-being?

Ultimately, the decision to divorce or forgive is profoundly personal and should be made with careful consideration, prayer, and seeking God’s direction. Remember, God’s grace is sufficient for every situation, and He can bring healing and restoration even in the most challenging circumstances.

Dr. Joshua Kennedy, Pastor

Praise Tabernacle

Egg Harbor Township

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