What do you do when your spouse broke your vows and your heart? How do couples recover from the pain, the shame, and the regret? In this message, Pastor Mike Novotny discusses this highly sensitive subject
What is 922 Ministries - The CORE & St. Peter Lutheran - Appleton, WI Sermons?
The episodes are the weekly sermons from 922 Ministries campus in Appleton, WI. St. Peter is in the north part of Appleton. The CORE is our downtown Appleton campus.
Happy Holy Home
Week 3 - The CORE
Pastor Mike Novotny
Thanks for being here today for week number three of Happy Holy Home.
I knew that I needed to talk about adultery with you. When adultery kept happening Among Us.
Not that long ago. Here in our church tragically, there was a couple who is really active and our membership who fell into the sin of infidelity And then another couple fell into the sin of infidelity and then another other couple fell into the sin of infidelity then another other other other couple fell into the sin of infidelity and then another couple on top of those other couples fell into the sin of infidelity. And when it happened, when I find myself as a pastor in the midst of all the herds, and the trauma, and the heartache, I quickly realized three things.
I realized something about them. I realized something about me and I realized something about you,
Them, I noticed that the people who committed adultery were not the Christmas and Easter only kind of worshippers. These weren't couples whose names I barely knew, because they were barely here. These are people who are rooted and connected to the word of God. People who had Bibles in their homes. They didn't have dust on the covers. People who stood up here to take communion with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though they were so connected to God and His word, this in still happens till damaged their home,
And they didn't know how to handle it. I don't know how to process it, they didn't know what to do with it. They felt lost desperate searching for resources, despite all of the Christian teaching in their background, And there was me.
Because, to be honest, I really didn't know how to handle it either.
I do the very Basics about the Bible, what the Bible says about Sin and forgiveness. I knew that Jesus died for sins like this, and that God has the power to restore things like this. But soften is, I was trying to counsel these many different couples. I felt a little bit in over my head, like I quite understand the emotions and the reactions and the details and the timeline and the situation, I didn't feel to be honest, pastorally prepared to give them my best and the Bible is best. And then I notice something about
You. Is this happen to couples Among Us? I noticed that many people in our church. Family got pulled into the middle of it. They didn't quite know what to do either. When you're trying to love and serve the person who cheated and a person who was cheated on when you're trying not to take sides, you're trying to help. You don't know what to say. You don't know, should I should I bring it up? Do they want me to talk about it? Do they want me to just leave it alone and not bring it up because they're having a good day. I noticed that our church family who was involved. They didn't didn't know how to handle this, either. And when I saw all of that put together,
What was happening to them, what was happening. And me. And what was happening among you? I realized we need to talk. It's a tough topic. We wish we didn't have to talk about it but we do need to talk about this. What does our heavenly father have to say about infidelity? I wish I didn't happen here in our marriages in this church, but it does. We live in a culture where one in five husbands will be unfaithful. And one in eight wives will do the same. And that means sooner or later, for all of us, adultery will come into close contact with our lives. It might be you who cheats. It might be you, who gets cheated on it might be your son, your daughter, your best friend, your brother, your sister or someone in your small group but sooner or later, it will happen. And I have a hunch as soon as I said, today's topic a bunch of you could relate
Maybe you're one of those couples right now. Who's dealing with infidelity You got pushed into this ultramarathon that you didn't train for. You're trying to figure it out and communicate and talk about it or stop talking about it. You're trying to rebuild the trust that's broken and restore. What's in has shattered? Maybe feel good about your progress, maybe feel stuck. Maybe your Nom on autopilot your mind right now is somewhere else. Just to cope because the emotions are so strong.
Or maybe when you hear this topic, that's not you. At least, not yet.
But the fact is, when you think about your relationship, you're not over the moon about it, you're a little bit sad, a little bit empty, maybe a little bit bitter, maybe don't feel like his priority anymore or she finds time for the kids and her phone, but she doesn't find time for you and your needs and adultery doesn't seem like something you would do. But it's not so crazy that you can afford to not pay attention. Or maybe like me, you haven't experienced this personally but you've seen it up close.
And your best friend told you the secret that no one knew or your sister's marriage. Took this big head and you want to be a good Christian and you want to love people. Well, and you want to be tender when you have to be tender and tough when you have to be tough. But you don't always know what to say or what to do. And so whether you're there or you were there or you might be there or you're just living with people who are there. In this moment, I want to take a really big chunk of time to talk to you today with an Open Bible about adultery. Now, I want to warn you. If you here live today, I hope you have a cup of coffee in your hand. This will not be the shortest sermon you ever hear me preach? All right, I promise to have you out of here by Tuesday. All right. That's the only promise I'm going to make some. Here's why I realized when I thought.
All these couples that's a give you some like short. Couple point it just would not do it. Justice for the emotion of going through, something like this. The petty trite advice is just unworthy. For those of you who've been through the trauma of infidelity. So, we're gonna take a big chunk of time. Maybe notice we thinned out the rest of the service or you're not here forever and ever, but you're going to need to engage your brain. Take lots of notes. Stay sharp. Because what God is about to say to you in his word is massively important. You're watching at home and you're watching on TV. We didn't want to give you the short version either. You might not have realized this but to fit in the average 30 minute time slot, our sermons have to be edited down to about 25 minutes and that just didn't seem like enough. And so today, and then next Sunday, if you're watching on TV, you're going to get the whole version of the sermon so you don't miss a word that God has to say to you. So today I want to speak to couples those. You might be someday. And the next time we gather together, I want to talk to you about what to do. If your friends cheats or your family members, she how do you help them as a Christian?
That's what I want to give my outline right up front. We're going to cover five, big biblical points about adultery. Five things that you just need to know to be able to handle this in the best. Way these come out of my deep research of every single Bible passage that touches on this topic. And here's what you should know. It's Research into people who have been there. So I've had the chance to personally interview five separate people that I've ministered through the long journey of an affair. I got to ask them what helped what hurt. What did I do as a pastor? Sir, that was beneficial or not. What did our church family do? Do you want to get you through this? What do you wish? They would have known. I'm gonna get to share all of their answers anonymously with you so that you feel better equipped to deal with this issue of had a chance to share this message with a local Christian counselor who specializes he's given me advice, tweaks, corrections, and affirmation. And so, I hope what you get today and next Sunday is a robust biblical look at what our heavenly father has to say about adultery. So let's jump in 5 biblical truths about adultery. Grab your pen. Let me hear, Let me see it. Cover bolts in. Here's the very first thing that our heavenly father wants you to know about adultery don't
Brighton, caps. Lock the word adultery shows up 55 times in the Bible from cover to cover. And the very first time it appears as a passage that a few of you have heard before. Danny, Moses is up on a mountain, God is speaking to him and he's giving him The Ten Commandments. The very first time, the word adultery appears is in Exodus chapter 20, where God. Through Moses says this. You shall not commit adultery. And diverse, you shall not commit adultery, period. Five words, actually in the original Hebrew. You know how many words it is? Two. You committed adultery one word in Hebrew. No.
So the word in Hebrew is just the shortest word. Lo Allah. O you doing that. No. And diverse.
No, sub-points, no asterisks, no exceptions. Not, if you want to explore things in marriage or if you're unhappy or you don't feel like your husband, God's loving word to his dearly. Beloved children is don't Don't. You cannot, you must not. You shall not commit adultery.
One author that I read explains why he says choosing to me. Commit adultery is like having a picnic with your closest family and friends, and you set up your nice little soft, picnic blanket, and get your basket. There's you and there's your spouse. If you have some kids they’re there with the string cheese and the mini oranges, your mom and your dad, and their mom, and dad are there even your closest friends, your pastor. I'll gather the sun is shining. There's not a cloud in the sky except you've set up that picnic right in the middle of the interstate.
And when that 18-wheeler, comes around the corner,
Everyone you love will be profoundly damaged.
Might be exciting might make you feel alive for the first time in a long, long time. But if you choose the path of adultery as Proverbs 5 6 and 7 says, you will hurt more people in more ways than you can possibly comprehend.
It would take me until Tuesday to unpack all the consequences of an affair. Let me take just one that most cheaters don't think about: the devastating loss of trust.
The fact is in any relationship, you don't know a thousand things that your spouse is doing or thinking on any given day. But if he trusts them, you don't worry about it. I look at my phone 50 times if my wife trusts me, she's not thinking what's he looking at? Who was he texting? What files are hidden in his phone. If I leave to go to work, my wife doesn't have to think. Well what is he really doing for those 10 hours? But if you've lost your spouse is trusted every second, they fill in the blanks with the worst possible. Assumption.
When you're late coming home from work. He'll have to wonder, where is she? Really When traffic is busy, and it's three minutes from after. When you said you'd walk in the door, triggers are happening in traumatic ways. Every time you look at your phone, every time you're at work, every time you're on a device, once you lose someone's trust, their heart will fill in the blanks with the most painful difficult memories.
That's what infidelity does. It rips out the very heart of a relationship that I can trust you to be faithful to me. Once you lose that and most people don't think of that, it will take so long to regrow. I feel couples. Our relationship is like a beautiful tree. With a thick trunk called Trust. And it produces the green leaves and bright fruit of happiness, but if you commit adultery, you rip up the chainsaw.
And you can't pick the tree up. Get out some Gorilla tape and fix it. What you could do in one day in one season, in one year, with an affair. Could take so long to rebuild.
And I got a whole loves you, the God who doesn't want his sons and daughters to be triggered to have to wonder to be robbed of their peace and joy by a thousand thoughts that run through their head. He just says, so bluntly with the very first example don't Please don't.
Back in 1941, there was a woman from the Soviet Union who was kidnapped by Hitler and the Holocaust. She was thrown into a concentration camp, where she witnessed the horrors of everything that Hitler was doing. Family members were murdered before her eyes. Genocide happened. There were daily abuses and traumas but somehow by the grace of God, she survived. She made it out of the Concentration Camp, Chef. She met a man. She got married. And then that man cheated on her.
And you know what? This Holocaust Survivor said about that experience,
She said, “The affair was the most painful experience of my life.”
Tell me you're unhappy in your relationship right now. And there's someone that's making you feel something you haven't felt in a long time. Do not be deceived. Do not think that there will be more pro than con do. Not think that you will end up unscathed. The picnic is set, and it's not too late to pack things up and go home. Don't.
Which brings us to point number two.
Earthly father doesn't just say, don't. He also says this. Don't Come Close.
I was reading a book where the author interviewed dozens and dozens and dozens of people who committed adultery and she asked every one of them, did you ever think that you would be that guy? Did you ever think that you would be that wife who strayed and every single person said never? It was like I was standing at the altar holding my husband's hand, with fingers crossed, behind my back. I never thought as a Christian. I knew the Ten Commandments. I never thought I would be that person. So, how in the world does it happen, how does it happen to followers of Jesus? How does it happen to us? And here's the simple answer. When you get too close. You go too far.
Let me picture it like this stage right here. Let's imagine the edge of this stage, this step is cheating on my wife.
Technically, if I'm standing here with half of my feet hanging over the edge. I haven't taken that step yet. Have I And I think all of you would know if that's a catastrophe. If that is the loss of trust and deep trauma. Maybe maybe Mike you shouldn't be standing right there. Maybe you should do this. Or better yet this or better yet this. Maybe technically there's not a Bible passage that says you shall not stand right here, but everyone slips and everyone fFalls and everyone is pulled towards things they shouldn't. If you're going to live life, here you are so close to doing something you can't take back.
Every act of infidelity is different, but I think there are about five steps that most affairs take that get you over the edge. I love you to write these down. Here's the first one, so often an affair starts with deprivation.
When someone who is married feels deprived within their marriage, They're deprived of attention. They're deprived of physical affection. They look to their spouse to communicate to initiate intimacy and if for a long enough period of time that door just closed closed closed. When you think you can run back to the one who vowed to love you and they don't love you. What a person swore before your parents and before Jesus, I will, and then they don't. And in fact they won't
There are such a profound emptiness to going home to someone who doesn't even seem like they're trying, that's deprivation.
How to say to all of you today who are married or will be one day? The smartest thing you can do is to constantly ask your spouse. What can I do? How can I love you? I want you to go to work. I want you to look at this world and just see a billion people who don't love you as much as I do. What can I do? How can I meet your needs? How can I serve you? How can I submit to you? How can I respect you? How can I be like Jesus, do the more you act? Ask that question. The more frequently you keep people away from the first step. But if you don't ask, If you fight about something once and then twice and then 10 times and nothing changes. What happens is that your spouse takes one step as experience, deprivation.
You see someone?
And there's something about her.
Might be the way she looks. She just might be your type. It might be the way he smiles and his charm and might be a physical thing. It might be a personality thing but there's someone that you just for some reason connect with, or they're interesting to you. Don't be shocked at that. Okay, we live in a culture that says like, there's one soul mate and once you meet them, no one else will ever be interesting to you ever. Victoria's Secret supermodel is boring. Like enough. Our culture makes us think of it. That's not true right there, there's seven. Eight billion people on planet Earth. I'm guessing you might find more than one of them attractive, right? So that's going to happen. The danger is when that happens after deprivation. Right. You might work with someone or live next to someone or have a friend or an ex that's attractive to you. But when you're feeling empty in your heart and then they make something happen in your heart, Danger.
But step 3 is where things get even more dangerous. Intention. When you do something with intention towards the person of your attraction,
You were getting so close to the edge.
But when you do something for that woman, or that, man, that you would not have done, if you didn't feel a little something in your heart,
Right ladies. Let's say you have a zoom meeting at work. It's pretty casual. You're going to throw on a sweatshirt messy bun. You're going to be just fine until you see the invite list and he's on it. And suddenly you're in front of the mirror worrying about your hair and stressing about how many buttons you should button and picking a new outfit for the zoom. That's intention.
But see there's that woman in your office and you really didn't need to stop by to talk and check on the project you really need to send another email with a little joke in the PS but you do it for her and not for anyone else. That's intention. When you were going to go to the party until you found out that she was going to be there when you went to volunteered for that thing until you found out. The other mom was volunteering for that thing. When you take a step and just do something because you're feeling something,
Not technically, to be adultery, but that is a big step towards it.
Supper for Emotion, when you start to share emotions with a person of your attraction.
When it's not just business and it's not just kids, but you're talking about the highs and the lows, the personal things, and especially please don't miss this. The unhappiness that you feel in your own relationship. In other words, when you are confiding in the person you're crushing on,
That's a problem.
And you might justify it and say well we're just friends and we're just close and we just talked about everything but when you take that step and you kind of know, deep down that I'm running to him or her instead of to my own home to talk about my biggest emotions you. To be honest, you're probably over the line already. What an emotional affair is when you get my priority in emotions instead of the person I vowed to love. When I'm sharing things with you before, I share them with my spouse or instead of sharing them with my spouse. Like, if you know, it's that there's an attraction there and it's not just business, but it's personal.
You are one moments away from step number five. Which is connection. A physical altercation once someone has somehow touched your heart. As soon as you to physically touch,
Sparks will fly.
One man who was unfaithful to his wife said this, I offered my friend a friendly shoulder, But that offer of comfort became much more within seconds. Falling was much easier than I ever believed possible.
And I wonder today, if some of you are here just for this point, Because you're not over the edge yet. The semi hasn't smashed into the picnic just yet.
Something during those five steps you related to something there and if God had the grace and mercy to bring you here for that moment, I am begging you to take a step and I'm going to tell your friend, it's gonna be awkward. It's going to be uncomfortable. People are going to think you're a prude. People aren't going to understand your behavior. If you talked with that woman at your job or that person online about family and everything in emotion, and now you stop, stop talking altogether, keep it to Strictly Business, they're going to wonder what's wrong with you, and that is so much better than doing something that is wrong.
If you have to find a new person to cut your hair, if you need to find a new shift to work, if you need to find a new hospital to be out because you're attracted to that doctor. If you need to find a new neighborhood to live in, I can guarantee you this a year from now if you cheat, you will wish that you could go back to this very moment. And take a step. Do not be proud.
Every act of adultery starts with pride, I'm fine. I'm fine. Show me where this is wrong.
Their coaches in the world that we call conservative that are wiser than we are.
They know that when men and women get together, things can happen and we live in a culture that urges us to act like this. And then shocked, when we slip,
Now, if you think I'm being dramatic and a bit much, I want you to listen to what Jesus said. In Matthew Chapter 5. Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount. So a section called adultery. Here's what our Savior taught. You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20. But I tell you, That anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. There's some intention if it's happening just here and it hasn't happened yet. Here she says that I'm telling you verse 29, if your right eye causes you to stumble, you're looking at her and it hasn't happened yet. Here's what you should do, gouge your eye out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Before you throw away your spiritual life, before you throw away the beauty of trust and forgiveness, be drat. It is better to take a drastic painful step back than a catastrophic step forward. Don't even come close.
But what if you already fell,
I know there are double-digit people in this room right now who say, I can't go back pastor.
I wish someone would have told me 10 years ago, don't period. I wish someone would give me that wisdom, and take a step back and not come close, but I already did. So what do I do? What is going to have to say to me?
Let's truth number three. I want to share with you today.
After thinking deeply about the people that I've walked with on this journey, I came up with an equation that I think best describes how to heal after an affair. What do you do? What is he do? How does this work? It's a theory I've tested on couples. I've reached out to a counselor. I think this is valid and solid. For some of you if you've healed from an affair, I can almost guarantee this is how it happened. And if you feel stuck like they're still bitterness and a lack of forgiveness, I think this will explain why it hasn't happened. Let me explain the three parts of the healing equation. First is time takes time.
Right. If that 18 wheeler, Smashed into you and you were sitting there with like both arms and both legs broken. It doesn't matter how much you wanted it to work, how much you wanted to get back on your feet when you get hit that hard, it just takes time to heal, you know, the phrase Right Time Heals all wounds and an affair is a huge wound that takes time to heal.
That's so important for you to know, you might be doing the right things. And she might be doing the right things, you might be connecting with friends and family, a counselor, a pastor, you might be humbling yourself following Jesus, but it is going to take a big amount of time. If a number is 0 or 1 or small, the healing equation itself will be small.
And the question that every couple asks at this point is well, how much time
Like, I don't trust him yet. How long is this going to take? She is still mad at me and totally uninterested in intimacy. How long is this going to take?
And I debated whether I should give you an answer because it's different for every couple. Like I want to promise something, the Bible doesn't promise. But from what I can gather from research, I've done on average, it takes about one to two years until a couple feels good about being a couple.
After the last secret is out, we'll come back to that. Once the whole truth is on the table, it takes about a year to two years until most couples can say, we're going to make it, and we're going to be better than we were before. Takes time.
Second in the healing equation, is that it takes work.
The one who cheated on their spouse has to do a lot of work. The time could be one year, two years, 10 years or 20 years, but if a person who cheated does zero work, the healing will be Zero.
That might seem like a weird thing to say, but it often happens, if I'm unfaithful to my wife and I'm carrying this burden and I know I shouldn't but I keep going back to it and finally but the truth comes out and I confess my sin. I'm ready to move on. I've already processed the pain and the trauma. I'm ready for a fresh start, a new us.
But she's not. And so, I have to do an insane amount of work for healing to happen.
That work primarily involves telling the whole truth if you want to screw up healing, here's some advice. Give them about half the truth.
It actually happens all the time I cheated on you, what you'd like this close to divorce and you think, oh, I can't share the rest. I can't share how long it happened or how many times it happened with this other person of the pornography? Part of it. Either people. They trickle out the truth and it just re-traumatize has the person who always has to wonder. What else don't I know. And so I got to tell you the hardest work that will terrify you and keep you up at night is being a thousand percent honest. However, ugly or traumatic, or disgusting it was, you have to get it out. Once the semi hits, don't bring another semi behind it. Let the whole truth hit hard. So you can really be able to rebuild the pieces together. And then the real work begins.
Because if you've cheated on your partner, you will have to do the hard work of answering the same question approximately 1612 times. And when you say, I already answered that question. No. You caused that you got to clean it up. You can't tell them to get over it. You can pull the Bible card. You're supposed to forgive me. Isn't that what Jesus did? No, no, no. You do the work of telling the truth and then telling the truth and then telling the truth and then telling the truth and when she's trying to play detective and make up rules for you and your phone and your schedule you submit to them and you obey them because that is the work you have to do to heal. Try to do your own thing and you will sabotage the process. Humble yourself day, after day after day, month after month, year after year and you give the healing equation, a chance to work.
I won't lie to you, it'll probably be the hardest thing you ever do in your life.
But if you do it, it will be worth it.
Healing equals time times work. Here's the last thing I need to tell you times work.
There are so many hard things I need to say to you today, I'm pretty convinced that what I'm about to say is the hardest of them. Are you ready for it?
If you were cheated on, you have to work.
Doesn't feel fair. Doesn't feel right. It wasn't your fault that your spouse did this.
But if you do zero amount of work all the time in the world can pass and your spouse to grovel and beg and humble themselves for a decade, but if you do 0 work, you will not heal. I think of a couple of ministered to who was just like smashed with a devastating affair and after meeting with them and meeting with them in a meeting with them and time passed. And this guy was really impressive, the work, he was willing to do. And after enough times, I felt it was time to ask her. So she gave me permission to tell you the story. I asked her. So what are you doing to serve your husband these days? She looked at me and said, Letting him live in my house.
And I smiled and she smiled and said that sounds bad, doesn't it?
I get it.
It's Mercy, just to let him back in. You would think it's his time to fix what he broke. But honestly, that's not. That's not how it works. It doesn't mean that sin was your fault. Doesn't mean I'm blaming you for this the decision that she made, but the fact is if if you don't do some really hard work, it's not going to work. Think of it this way, if there was some deprivation that your spouse was feeling that led them towards attraction and in tension and emotion and connection. If there was something about your marriage, pre Affair, that made him or her very unhappy. Come on, doesn't make logical sense that we need to work on that. Pastor friend of mine. Likes to ask couples. Imagine this never happened. Imagine, this is pre cheating. What were you working on then?
What did she need to do? Or he needs to do more of before you are sinners back then, were you not? You were sinful. Spouses back then, were you not? Well, good work that God wants you to do then because we probably still have to pick that up sometime. If one person in a marriage becomes the holy God, who never needs to do anything, or apologize for anything, and the other person becomes the slave or the servant that is not intimacy, and it's not connection, which means you have to work. The Bible says, if your spouse cheats on you, you don't have to stay. You can leave in a clear conscience if the trust is too Broken. But if you decide to stay, there is still a vow that you need to keep
And you. Free pass to sin.
You don't get to let bitterness and anger take over your heart. You don't get to lash out and punish, use vengeance. That's not how God treats you and you don't get to do that either. So, you have to work.
You have to be insane. Humility to go to the one who cheated on, you look him in the eye and ask the question. How can I be a better spouse to you?
In a million demons will be digging their claws into your ankles, trying to hold you back from that question, but it is a holy question. It is a humble question and it is a healing question. How can I love you better? That's the work.
That is such hard work. I'm going to give you a gift today. There's this little book that we wrote a couple years ago, called The Freedom and Forgiveness, forgiveness is a really hard thing. It doesn't mean forgetting. It just means remembering what Jesus did and applying it to other people's time of grace God has given us. A hundred free copies of this book are waiting in the lobby. And if you're there and I'll say, if you know someone who's there, if a friend of yours is dealing with an affair and they're just stuck. And she's so bitter. He's so angry. They can't think, clearly please, we gotta give away a hundred of these. They grab on the way out. I hope there's zero left afterwards, and if you're watching online just go to timeofgrace.org look for Freedom and Forgiveness. This is going to help you do the work. And work times work times time equals healing.
And so I'm going to pause for just a second and ask God to bless that work. In fact, since you've been sitting for so long, will you please stand for one second? I want to put the words of the Lord's Prayer up on the screen because I bet a lot of you have never thought about the Lord's Prayer from the perspective of a couple that's cheated.
You just think of what these words, they must hit a little bit different. When you've been through something like this, what does it mean? God, your will be done right now in my marriage. God, forgive us our sins. I've sinned, I can't go back. God, help me to forgive those who've sinned against me because I don't want to right now. There's so much temptation to do this. Say this, bring this up, give in, God lead us not inside deliver. This was an evil that happened in our home, Deliver Us from it because we don't have the power but you do. Today, whether you have been there, you're thinking about someone who is there let's pray to our Heavenly Father that he would help. Would you join me in the words of the Lord's prayer? Our Father in heaven, Hallowed Be Your Name, Your Kingdom Come your will be done on Earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our sins. As we forgive those who sin against us lead us, not into temptation, but Deliver Us from Evil. Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen. Amen, you may be seated.
Friends, that brings us to point number four. I'm gonna keep this one faster than you think, because this is next week's entire sermon. Whats truth number four. If you're dealing with an affair, run to them. No one ever thinks that adultery is going to happen in their home and when it does it is embarrassing, and it's numbing, and it's shameful. It's the thing you think about 24/7, but you don't want to bring up to anyone because you don't want them to know just how bad it is at home. But I'm gonna tell you this, you cannot, you cannot make it without them.
Without good counseling, without good Ministry, without family friends, you don't think it up and tell everyone at work, but you need people in your life that you don't have to fake it or pretend you need them. The Bible says, in Galatians, 6:2 carry each other's burdens. And in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.
All right, an affair is like a grand piano that you need to get into the moving truck and you can't move it by yourself. It is such a heavy burden and so God says to his church, carry each other's burdens. And in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ and it is all safer today that the people that you run to, to help are not Jesus.
Okay, did you need to write that down? Your brother is not Jesus. Your pastor is not Jesus, Pastor Michael is kind of close to Jesus, but he is still not Jesus. All right, the people you run to They won't know what to do. No.
They're not experts that they're not going to know, do I talk to you about it? Or are you having a good day? You just want to think about it. Do you want me to bring this up? Or do you not see? It's going to be messy, they're going to need advice, hopefully they keep your confidence. Well, but don't wait until you find like Jesus walking down the street to run to help find the best spiritual options, you have and run to them. So they can bear that burden with you or that next week.
Play number five. Save the most important for last, run to him.
Run as fast as you can to God.
Whether it's something you did or something that was done to you. The best advice I could give you today is Sprint like a Jamaican into the arms of Jesus.
A lot of people when they cheat, they see sin for what it is. For the very first time in their life, They see how evil, foolish, absolutely idiotic it was they live with the daily consequences that don't go away after a day or a week. Sometimes it takes years and the shame of that can weigh.so heavy that we start to believe it is an unforgivable sin.
Some of you need to know today. It is not.
Did you know two thousand years ago when Jesus was on the cross? He knew the name of The Other Woman.
As the God who knew past, present and future, he already saw how you would cross a line with that guy from work. He knew it. And you know what, he still said at the end of his suffering?
It's finished. Finished. So if you wake up everyday with this extra large garbage bag, full of bricks of shame and you just drag it with you and refuse to rejoice in this day that God has made today. I'm telling you that Jesus, forgives adultery I'm not guessing that the Bible gives us heaps of evidence. Remember, when Jesus was face-to-face with the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, no time had passed. There was Zero healing. She had done zero work. Jesus looked her in the eye and John chapter 8 and he said, I don't condemn you.
King David. You know that story, he was attracted to Bathsheba. Start from a distance. He did something with intention. He made a physical connection if she covered it up for an entire year, he lied to people. And when he, when King David confessed, that's in love with the Bible, says, in Psalm 32 David's writing. He says, I acknowledged my sin to you, God and I did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord. How does God respond God, you forgave the guilt of my sin.
That God hasn't changed.
Some of you cheated 7 years ago, And God hasn't thought about it in seven years.
Some of you are thinking you lost your spot in heaven. God's face is scowling upon you. If you're a follower of Jesus, all of it, the worst of it, the most shameful piece of it is there. And you don't have to carry it anymore. He forgives the guilt of your sin. And if you've been cheated on, I want to give you the same advice today we run to Jesus.
I haven't been there, but I've heard how people feel, what's wrong with me. Why did he choose another woman? Why am I not good enough question. Everything about yourself, your wager looks or personality, your everything. You feel like so less than, here's what the Gospel of Jesus says, you're not Jesus made you enough. So beautiful that God doesn't get bored with you. He doesn't Stray From You. Jesus is the perfect spouse. Who is always faithful to the one you vowed to love.
Maybe you've seen in the midst of this process and pretty ugly things. Come out of your heart. You don't know, such bitterness and hatred could live within you and then it's there. I want you to know Jesus died for that too. He chose you. He forgave you. He saved you. He loved you. And he is the same yesterday and today, and forever. You don't have to wait one to two years, to fix your relationship with God. Because Jesus did everything in your place. It is fixed. And you actually have a spot right now in the happiest holiest, home on Earth, the very presence of God with a perfect father, breathe
Rest and everything that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. Run to him.
So, put it all together and what you got. Don't be tempted right now. But don't even come close. Some of you are two steps away. It's time to take a step back. Healing equals time times, work X work, no matter who you are. There's work to do and there's time to wait on the Lord. Run to them. You're going to need people to help you imperfect people but good people and run to God.
Yeah, I interviewed five people from our church who have been through an affair and I have some really dangerous question at the end of it. The question was, is anything better now?
You were living in this kind of happy kind of holy home and then this tornado called infidelity ripped it down to the very foundations. Anything better. Now about your marriage.
First guy said everything. And the second woman said, Everything. And the third guy said, Almost everything. And the fourth woman said, he never tried to love me, like he loves now. And the fifth woman said, my husband has never been more spiritual than he is now after the affair.
I can't guarantee that happens. Some people don't do the work, some people don't take the time sometimes. The damage is just too much to fix. But I can't say this, if you run to him, there's hope. As Pastor Michael, you've been a pastor for 25 years. What can you tell me about this? And he said this, if people run to God and they do the work, there's hope. And I reached out to a local Christian counselor. I said, what do I need to know and he says it's going to be different and it's going to be so hard but there is hope.
The word I want to leave you with today, hope. Our God is so good. He doesn't just have the power to forgive you. He has the power to take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good. So I have hope go in peace. There's forgiveness.