“How long will you defend the unjust
    and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

-Psalm 82:2-4, NIV

The cruelty of some leaders is teaching victims of adultery that they are in the wrong to acknowledge the facts of their situation–namely, they are a victim of adulterous abuse. This is all done using religious language. So, I would label it a form of spiritual abuse.

In the rush to avoid “getting stuck in a victimhood mentality,” justice is a causality. Therefore, this teaching ultimately does not honor God who is Just.

While I acknowledge that we can come consumed and stuck in our healing journey by identifying solely as victims, I worry about the other extreme that denies reality.

This is what hurts my heart in these situations. Church leaders REFUSING to see victims of adultery.

When those victims dare to share their pain, they warn them about “victimhood mentality” and badger them about “forgiveness” warning them about getting “bitter.” It is SO wrong!!!

We need to do better.

It begins by seeing and acknowledging that we have perpetrators and victims in marriage infidelity situations. Justice demands that we treat them differently. Good pastoral care looks differently to the different parties in these situations.

I wonder if we push these teachings about refusing to “get stuck” in victimhood because seeing victims places demands on us.

This is as much true for a pastor as well as for the victims themselves. We can internalize the message to protect us from feeling so vulnerable. It is uncomfortable to see this reality. Yet we must as it is reality, and we can only heal by stepping into the light of truth.

Victims exist in adultery situations. We must stop refusing to see them as a Church!