Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Marriage or Divorce?


Dealing with Unfaithfulness

Dear Child of God:

I get emails and phone calls all the time from those suffering in marital hardships who are looking for hope in their seemingly bleak situation. The question below is one that I received by email and I'd like to share it with all of you as a Remnant Woman writes the following...

How do you stand for a marriage when your husband just uses you and cares nothing about you? Especially when you show them unconditional love and they know you are standing so they use that to their advantage. What kind of self respect can you have for yourself to allow yourself to be used like that? Especially when your husband is sleeping with other people and telling them lies about you? Wouldn't God want you to be free to move on and live a new life? My husband isn't sorry for what he has done.

My Reply:
My heart breaks for you. I know it is very difficult to live, day-to-day, with a broken heart that bleeds, because of betrayal from your spouse.

I will offer you this one Biblical escape from your torment, but I must also add that this is not necessarily God's best. In Matthew 19 Jesus tells the Pharisees that divorce is permitted in the case of adultery; but, He also adds that divorce is permitted because of the "hardness of our hearts." Even if you divorce your spouse, you must still forgive him (or her)... I mean truly forgive. Remember, God sees the heart. While others may not be able to see the bitterness that can be tucked away in a person's soul for many years (even a lifetime) - God sees it all.

As one who has overcome marital adversity, it is my conclusion that if I must forgive my husband, I'd rather fight for his salvation (aiming to win the whole prize: our marriage, his salvation, and my clean heart) than to face the arduous task of trying to truly forgive after a bitter divorce.

God will use us as vessels of Himself as we stand in the gap for those who are lost and living in darkness. Your spouse is obviously lost and living in darkness. While it is very painful to love someone who is unlovable, we are also told that learning to love our enemies is what makes us more like Christ (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27, Luke 6:35).

1 Corinthians 13:8 says that "Love Never Fails." While praying for your spouse, be sure to mix your faith with your Christ-like actions.  It is important to speak the truth about God's Word and and the truth about sin... but not in a nagging way.  Sweeping things under the rug is not going to make it go away.

In addition, you'll need to live as an example of Christ before your mate's eyes.  Most importantly, you must forgive. God will soften the heart of your spouse as you create fertile ground for your miracle through your obedience to the Holy Spirit. It is not a quick fix. You will need to ask yourself many times over if you can withstand the challenge of this spiritual warfare, knowing that the devil will not back down easily.

As you ask the Holy Spirit for His daily guidance and protection, while placing yourself in the strong hand of God, He will take care of you; guiding you step by step through the process of this dark valley. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows exactly what it will take for your husband /wife to surrender and repent of their sins. God will use you as a vessel of light as you completely surrender to His pathway to wholeness for your family. Most importantly, you'll need to trust that your faith in God's Word will bring forth the promise of a restored marriage with a born-again spouse.

Many people come to the conclusion that someone will never change and so they give up the fight. I like to say, how long would you believe for the salvation of your child? How long would you commit to being the parent of your child if they were in rebellion and sinning against you? Is your husband any more disposable than your child?

God does not want any to perish. He wants everyone to become a born-again Child of God. God does not want any marriage to end in divorce. He wants all families to remain whole. Knowing this, you can pray with confidence, knowing that God is on your side. The waiting and the suffering is not fun, but it is what every Christian goes through at some point or another - in some area of their faith.

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

When we suffer for righteousness sake, God works out things in our own lives that, perhaps, we didn't even know needed attention. He molds us and shapes us to be more like Himself as we surrender our will, to His. Though our surrender may be extremely painful for a season, we don't do it as one who has no hope. Instead, we do it knowing that God is faithful and He will not make us ashamed in the end.

We cannot change our spouse, but God can... and He wants to! I want to encourage you to pray the Women's Marriage Prayer, daily.  (Marriage Prayer for Men) Also, I currently have my audio message of Faith, Forgiveness, Future posted at the bottom of this blog that you can freely listen to for encouragement - right from your computer. My teaching series of Root Digger, Not a Rug Sweeper (available on my web-site) is another valuable tool of encouragement that will help you during this season of pain. Finally, I have a new book titled, Healing a Broken Marriage: Love Never Fails . I highly recommend these resources, as they may prove vital to the outcome of your journey.

Again, you are ultimately the only one who can decide how to handle your situation. Divorce is permitted... but, it is not necessarily the best way. Ask the Lord to show you what to do - day by day - and He will. He loves you AND He loves your husband. He wants each of you born-again and set free from the bondage of sin.

Romans 5

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Then, another Remnant Woman writes...

As a "seasoned Christian," I actually pray for God's refining fires however, when they come in by way of infidelity I find that I fail the test every time. When I found out about the last incident, that happened between my husband and my brother's wife, I thought I would lose my mind. I shut down in every area of life and depression took over. I felt like a lousy Christian because I was consumed by grief. I felt like the Lord would never be able to use me again. I had always been committed to my family in spite of the infidelities, however, this one had crossed the family lines. What made matters worse was she had just lost her mother to cancer the same month I found out and had gained all the other family members sympathy in spite of her indiscretion. I was told to just "drop it and forgive and forget." There would be no accountability, how was I to handle that? I was at the end of my rope, I just couldn't take anymore of anything. The pain inside was unbearable, so much so that I began cutting on myself just to relieve it! What kind of Christian cuts herself to relieve pain when she should be turning to Jesus for comfort and healing? The joy of the Lord is supposed to be my strength! I began to doubt my own salvation. Then the tears of remorse began to wash over me as I remembered the day I was saved and baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit. There was no denying that to be true. Then the guilt of conviction kicked in, that I had abused my own vessel, God's temple, making me feel worse. Oh, would this merry-go-round of emotion, grief, and conviction ever stop? What was I missing in the lesson that I had to endure the pain of infidelity a fifth time? What are you trying to teach me Lord? I prayed, "Lord, please send me a teacher who will make it all make sense. Surround me with your "spirit-filled" people that will gently walk me through this trial so that I can be victorious this time." This is where your book found it's way into my hands and I rejoiced and cried as I read it. I said to myself, "This woman has the answers I seek Lord! She has Your wisdom Lord. Your Word is in her mouth and you have taken her on a similar journey and she has come out victorious!" Truly, Deborah, had it not been for your book, I would still be spinning on the merry-go-round in darkness trying to find the off switch. Thank you for shining your light through my darkness so I could "find" and "hit" the off switch! You gave me clarity where I could only see darkness. Glory be to God and may He bless your ministry ten thousand fold!
Final Words from Deborah:
To God be the Glory for every marriage restored, every broken heart mended, and every tormented mind that receives the peace of God.

This blog entry is a re-post from 2009 with some editing.  This topic seems to be the most popular title to date.  I am believing for your marriage restoration.  Remember, God has a remedy for those trapped in an unequally yoked marriage... glorious salvation for all.
In Christ,
Deborah Ross
Deborah Ross Ministries, Inc.
Strengthening Families; Encouraging Faith; Preaching the Gospel

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