We’re All Adulterers

Dear Renea,

I met and fell in love with a married man. Being married myself I understand that we have both committed adultery. Can we be forgiven and eventually be allowed to marry one another? I myself am not as religious as he but this is very important to him and he has been made to believe that he will burn in hell if he chooses to continue on with such a sinful relationship. I believe God has given us this incredible gift of love and want to pursue a relationship and start over in some type of un-sinful start. At this time I cannot even get him to communicate with me as this is his family’s wish. I’m so lost????

Dear T

You ask difficult questions that come from a difficult situation, and my heart cries out for you. What immense pain and confusion you must be feeling. You mentioned that you haven’t been able to communicate with your lover because of his family’s wishes. By his family, do you mean his wife and children? Because if he has kids, this thing is bigger than you and him. You realize that, don’t you? Marital problems, including affairs and divorce, are hardest on the kids. If you really love this man, can you love him enough to give him a chance to make things right with his wife and children? You don’t really want to break up his family, do you? I know it’s incredibly unfair to ask this of you; but then again, love is never fair.

Which brings up some of the theological questions you ask. God created everything out of love and we ran away from it and hid from his love. But that didn’t stop God from loving us. If love were about fairness, we would all be in trouble. You know how when you love someone, you feel as though you don’t deserve that person? Because you know all your bad qualities and the fact that that person loves you in spite of all that is incredible; hard to believe. Fortunately, love is not about what’s fair; love is not about what we deserve. God shows his love for us in this way too. You mentioned that your lover’s religion is telling him he will burn in Hell for his affair with you; but fortunately for all of us, we do not get into Heaven or go to Hell because of our ability to keep a moral code; none of us can do it! None of us can ever be good enough.

What if we could be good enough though; where do we draw the line? I mean, I’ve never murdered anyone, but the truth is that imposing my selfishness and anger on others is like killing a piece of their spirit; it’s like murder. Know what I mean? So really, though I can fool myself into believing that I’m not as bad as others, murderers for example, the truth is, I am. So if we’re talking about what I deserve, I don’t deserve to be loved by the One I keep rejecting. Fortunately, I don’t have to be “good enough.” So if we don’t get into Heaven (or get out of being separated from God–which is what hell is–because we keep running away and hiding from him) because our good works outweigh our bad deeds, how can we be saved from ourselves and the compulsion we have to separate ourselves from God?

Again, love isn’t fair. Love is sacrifice. And that’s exactly what God did for us. Sacrifice. Jesus—whose name, Emmanuel, means God living among us (Matthew 1:23)—lived his whole life without ever running away or hiding from God, even though there were lots of times when he could have. And though eventually the religious people (who preferred their version of the rules to what God wanted… a restored relationship) murdered Jesus to try and keep him from messing up their system, death couldn’t contain Jesus. He is God’s Son after all. And so God made a way for us. We can’t be good enough, but He Is.

You asked if you can be forgiven. The truth is you already are. All you have to do is accept it. Jesus is the only healing and forgiveness big enough. I can’t fully imagine how you must be hurting, and as you say, feeling lost. God knows. But don’t take my word for it see for yourself the stories of others who have come from similar situations.

May you find God’s grace and peace.

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