Yes, you had an affair. You hurt your spouse, that you promised to love for a lifetime, more deeply than you can imagine. That can be hard to live with and it can be overwhelmingly painful. The pain is often unbearable for your spouse and their range of emotions is unknowable by us who committed the affair.
That’s the truth, but there is more truth.
For those of us who cry out to Jesus to be forgiven, we are forgiven. 1 John 1:9 promises us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Read those words again. Have you asked Jesus to forgive you? If so, you are forgiven! That is a truth that cannot be taken away from you. Now if you are like me, you will have to read this truth 100 times a day until it sinks deep into your heart. The devil is going to attack. After all he is simply wanting to destroy you. Nothing would make him happier than for you to wallow in the misery of guilt and shame. But God loves you perfectly regardless of the affairs and He has forgiven you. Now He wants you to live in His strength and power.
As I look back over the initial months it was so hard to accept the Lord’s forgiveness and to accept my wife’s forgiveness. I did not feel like I deserved it at all. In fact I didn’t, but the true love of God provided the way to be forgiven despite myself. My wife understands how deeply she has been forgiven, and as a result her love for God and for me compelled her to forgive me. (This is something I praise God for everyday!) Regardless of whether your spouse is willing to forgive you, God has. Take comfort in that and let go of the shame. Live free and forgiven, do not let the enemy tear you down with accusations of the things you are already forgiven for!
At the beginning I mentioned that your spouse is dealing with unbearable amounts of pain because of your betrayal. That is true, however they need you. You are forgiven and that forgiveness allows you to walk in freedom from your sin. That forgiveness also allows you to rise up and be strong for your spouse. They need you to acknowledge and not ignore the sin you committed, but they also need you to rise up in the confidence that your Savior has forgiven you. When you in the power of Christ do this, you are able to convey strength and victory to your spouse when they are just trying to survive the pain. Even as I write that it sounds so weird that your spouse wants strength from the one who betrayed them. Remember though that despite your betrayal they have stayed faithful because they love you and they want to be with you. Take the forgiveness and grace you have received from Christ to rise up in strength and love your spouse.
This will not be easy. The devil will attack and your spouse will need to share their pain with you. In those moments you will want to run in fear and shame. I did. Many times my wife would say, “I need you to be strong for me when I share my pain. Tell me you are sorry and that you regret what you did, but stay strong for me. Show me that you are confident in God and the work of Christ.” See, when she would open up I wanted to run because I had so much shame and I hated myself for what I did. But if you believe you are forgiven and loved, then the shame and hatred melts away and you become strong for your spouse. Over time you will become stronger and stronger in the Lord as you continue to renew your mind day by day.
Have you forgiven yourself for your affairs? God has! Now rise up and fight for your spouse, love them, and be gentle and be strong for them! God will be there for you each step of the way!
Never forget you are loved and forgiven completely by JESUS!