Three Key Points for Pastors on Adultery Situations – Divorce Minister



The Bible is clear about the principle about how a married couple is no longer two individuals in a spiritual sense but are actually one (see Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6, I Corinthians 6:15-18, etc).

Following from this oneness principle of marriage, any sexual act by one partner outside the marriage involves the other. It is not consensual. So, adultery is soul rape.

Just as it is inappropriate and cruel to point fingers at a sexual assault victim for being assaulted, it is inappropriate, cruel, and ungodly to point fingers at an adultery victim for having his or her soul raped.

Just don’t.

2. Attending to grief is the primary task for adultery victims NOT attending to forgiveness of the cheater.

In the most odd of ways, Christians are quick to jump over grief tasks in favor of focusing on “forgiveness” as if grieving is less important than processing the catastrophic losses every adultery victim must process.

Trust me. The losses that come with discovering an unfaithful spouse are catastrophic. A cheater selfishly blows up the life of the faithful spouse by committing adultery.

The losses hit financial health, physical health, mental health, social health, and spiritual health to name just a few categories assaulted at this time.

The Golden Rule of treating others as we would like to be treated is critical at this time. Jumping to forgiveness even before an inventory of the losses has been made strikes me as especially premature and cruel.

In fact, I find forgiveness nonsensical when we do not know what we are forgiving. You have to see the injustices first before you can had them over to God in forgiveness.

Plus, I am suspicious of any forgiveness talk that comes without reference to repentance on the part of the offender (see Luke 17:3).

Finally, I consider people who jump all over faithful spouses to forgive at this time as kind as the person who immediately tells a rape victim the same. That is to say they are kind not at all!

3. Please do not waste your time looking at the marriage’s condition to find the cause of the adultery. It is not there.

This is actually a pretty simple litmus test for whether or not you are getting biblical counsel:

If your pastor or other counselor is looking at the state of the marriage for the cause of the infidelity, they are looking in the wrong the place.

The Bible is crystal clear where to look for the origins of sin:

The sin flows out of the heart of the one who committed the sin (e.g. Mark 7:21-23, James 1:14-15, etc.)

Why did the cheater commit adultery?

The simple, biblical answer is that he or she gave into the wicked temptation in his or her heart.

According the Bible, you do not solve an adultery problem by working on the marriage. Rather, you solve an adultery problem by working on the adulterous spouse guiding them through repentance and teaching them how to say “NO” to sin.


*A version of this post ran previously.

Republished with permission from

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