Monday, June 24, 2013

"Is it possible...?"

I imagine there are questions that some people want to ask me or Amy but don't due to awkwardness. Or, they don't know how we would respond, so they keep certain questions to themselves. I would like my friends to be comfortable enough to ask me questions about my recovery, etc., even if only out of curiosity. On a deeper level, I want to be held accountable by Godly, spirit-led men who aren't afraid to ask me hard questions and hold me to my recovery work.

One particular question that I believe some people (including myself) have wondered about when it comes to adultery recovery is regarding future faithfulness. To answer this question, among others, I want to share what I have learned in this journey, and my interpretation of the Bible. I pray that God gives me (and you) insight and clarity through His holy spirit. 

#1 "Is it possible to stay faithful in the future after you commit adultery?" 

I believe the answer is YES. I am clinging to this truth and reality. I NEVER want to be unfaithful to Amy again and put her and our family through such agony. I wish it would never have happened in the first place, and I sure don't want it to happen again.

It is possible to stay faithful, however, it isn't a guarantee and won't happen without me being proactive and purposeful. And, apart from Christ I can do nothing. I know this for sure. I know what I am capable of doing when I don't trust in God and allow myself go down the road of betrayal.

I find some encouraging examples of God's faithfulness and power in people throughout the Bible. Even people who betrayed him and sinned against Him. There are three particular examples of men in the Bible who betrayed God, yet stayed faithful in the future after being restored. They did not all commit adultery, but betrayal can occur in many ways. These three men were King David, the Prodigal son, and Peter.

In 1 Samuel through the book of Kings, plus the Psalms, the life of David is laid out before us to read about. He committed the awful sin of adultery and murder. He also failed in many ways as a leader and father. Yet, I don't see anywhere that shows he committed adultery a second time. He made mistakes, but adultery wasn't a repeated offense to my knowledge. God's presence and blessing was evidence in his life as a "man after God's own heart." Huge sin. Huge consequences. Huge God.

The prodigal son in Luke 15 disrespected his father and squandered his inheritance before his father had even passed away. The Bible says he committed all sorts of sinful acts and finally "came to his senses." He made his way back home and was welcomed by his father with open arms. There is no mention of him living a life of sin and betrayal after he had been restored. No doubt there were many consequences, but the Bible does not say he betrayed his father anymore.

A third example is Peter. In John 18, Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested. Jesus was taken prisoner and while being questioned, Peter denied to all the people around him that he even knew Jesus. He basically cussed them out and was angry that they associated him with Jesus. Once the rooster crowed three times, Peter remember Jesus' words predicting his denial. Peter wept and a few weeks later when Jesus arose from the dead, he had a chance to make things right with Jesus. Jesus restored Peter and the Bible says that Peter was full of the holy spirit and led thousands to Christ (see the book of Acts). No mention of him denying Jesus ever again.

With God, all things are possible. I believe I, along with other recovering adulterers, can remain faithful. I also believe these things are important to PREVENT adultery. Prevention is the preferred option for sure.

To stay faithful, I believe it will take the power of God in me, along with...
  • prayer
  • the Holy Spirit
  • honest accountability
  • maturity and personal growth
  • healing from past wounds (childhood, etc.)
  • radical boundaries, especially with the opposite sex
  • total dependence on Christ
  • a love for Christ above all else
  • surrender to God's will over my will 
  • a renewed mind
  • daily repentance and forgiveness
  • a changed heart
  • a humble attitude
  • a loving wife who I can serve, love and walk through life with daily.
I am on a journey of recovery that is life-long. This coming August will be two full years. So much has happened - good and difficult. Much healing has occurred, but I know more is needed. I want to stay faithful to God and Amy, and let God continue to have His way in me.

Two other questions I want to address in another post...
#2. How does a Christian man, especially a minister, do such sinful, awful acts?

#3. Regarding my wife: How can you stay with someone who has betrayed you so deeply?

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