Marital infidelity is one of life’s most traumatic experiences. It not only tears at the seams of your marriage but rips the fabric of your soul. Your spouse promised to love you, to cherish you. Your partner promised before God, family and friends to forsake all others and professed to be with you until, “...Forever do you part.” We make these promises because at the very core of our humanness we need security, love and acceptance.
This is why infidelity is so emotionally, mentally, and spiritually damaging. Junot Diaz, states, “People are always fascinated by infidelity because, in the end--whether we’ve had direct experience or not--there’s part of you that knows there’s absolutely no more piercing betrayal. People are undone by it.”
It erodes all trust, security, identity and causes self-doubt. If your spouse had an affair, you may feel alone, isolated, and unworthy of love. However, you are not alone.
The Bible is filled with story after story about God’s people in the midst of betrayal, idolatry, or running away from God. Spiritual idolatry is unfaithfulness in your relationship to God. It means being captivated or attracted to the things of this world more than God. ‘‘But like a woman faithless to her lover, even so have you been faithless to me, O house of Israel,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:20).Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
The Bible tells us people who choose the world are adulterous people, this includes any form of idolatry. It could be loving your children, spouse, job, more than you love God. God loves us deeply and when we commit idolatry, it breaks his heart. God truly understands the heartbreak of being cheated on. Perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the Bible that illustrates what your heart may be feeling is the story of Hosea and Gomer.
In the Old Testament, the prophet’s wife, Gomer, symbolizes the infidelity of God’s people. Hosea’s commitment to Gomer symbolizes God’s faithfulness to his erring people. You are not alone in the pain you’re feeling. God knows and understands. As a Christian, know that God wants to restore your heart and your marriage. Right now, the very idea of joy or to be in love with your spouse again seems impossible. Remember nothing is impossible with God and he truly empathizes with your heartbreak. Here are 5 reasons God empathizes with being cheated on.
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1. He knows what betrayal feels like
Betrayal is an abandonment and violation of trust. It is hard enough to be betrayed by a person who doesn't like you or by a friend but to be betrayed by your spouse is very hard to handle. It shatters your soul and leaves a wound so deep, you question if you’ll ever recover or if anyone truly understands. Jesus does.
He had a close friend. They spent time together, they traveled together, they broke bread together. They shared secrets, witnessed miracles and prayed together. Then Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss in exchange for money. Always know that Jesus identifies with your pain of betrayal. However, Jesus wants you to do what David did when David was betrayed by his aide.
Psalm 55 was written by King David after he was betrayed by a close friend. Because he shared his personal experience of hurt, disillusionment and pain, this psalm has practical applications for those who’ve been hurt by infidelity.
David poured out his heart to God. While you’re going through this crisis, be open and honest with Jesus. He knows what you are feeling, and it doesn’t surprise him. He is close to the brokenhearted.
“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend. We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng." Psalm 55:12
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2. He understands what it’s like to feel abandoned
Abandonment is a sense of severed layers of attachment abruptly cutting you off from a lifeline of love. It leaves you with a fresh, gaping wound. It makes you feel completely alone and isolated. Jesus felt abandoned by God as he died on the cross. Jesus had a deep intimacy with God. After all, he was God in the flesh. He cried out loud, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'” (Mark 15:34).
As he died, all our sins were placed on him. And in that moment, he was banished from the presence of God, for sin cannot exist in God’s presence. His cry speaks of this truth you are feeling right now in our anguish.
The Bible is also filled with examples of people who felt abandoned and betrayed. Look at Joseph’s Paul, David, and Job. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me,” because he not only understands, but only he can provide you with the ultimate source of comfort.
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3. He knows what it’s like to be let down
Your spouse violated your marriage vows and let you down. You’re feeling a myriad of feelings that are encompassed by disappointment. There is a sense of sadness caused by a failed reality due to your spouse’s actions. Know that you aren’t alone in feeling this way too. God understands being let down; he understands disappointment because we have let God down so many times. We are flawed, imperfect and we sin. That’s the reality.
From the very beginning of time, God was let down by the first of his creation: Adam and Eve. They disobeyed and hid from God. Just like your spouse failed to honor your marriage vows, they failed God. Your circumstances may feel devastating and overwhelming, but God promises to be there.
Paul’s life wasn’t going the way he had planned when he found himself alone in a prison cell. He wrote, “I always pray with joy… being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” (Philippians 1:4-6). God wants you to know he is doing this with your heart. You can be confident knowing that if it’s not good, God is not done with you or your marriage yet. God is bigger than the marriage heartbreak you are “chained” to right now.
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4. He understands the pain of a broken heart
Tragically, many church-goers never open the pages of their Bible. If they do, they tend to stick to the New Testament. It’s filled with many great miracles and wisdom. But that means they are ignoring the rest of the Bible. It’s filled with breathtaking passages about the broken heart of God. These passages also reveal that God understands our human hearts. He understands the pain you feel.
We find the Israelites in Exodus following Moses out into the wilderness. Instead of showing their allegiance and love for God, we find them worshiping idols in the desert. In Chronicles 5:25, it says the people of Israel “played the harlot” with other nations and false gods. Essentially, the people were unfaithful in their marriage to God. They turned their backs on their faithful husband.
Just like the destruction felt in your marriage, God understands the bitterness and pain you feel. He also wants you to know he will heal your broken heart. He will draw near to you as you draw near to him.
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5. He knows what it’s like to feel rejection
Infidelity attacks our sense of security and safety. It leaves us feeling unworthy, devalued, less than and rejected. We wonder, “What did I do? Am I enough? Maybe I was in better shape or more fun this wouldn’t have happened.” We find ourselves thinking we must be lacking something or be inferior which caused your spouse to look elsewhere. This is where you are wrong.
You are not responsible for your spouse’s actions or choices, just like Jesus wasn’t responsible for the crowd wanting to crucify him. They stood jeering at him, shouting at him, and rejecting who he was to them. God sent his only Son to take our place, to take away our sins and we rejected Jesus. Prior to the crowd shouting for Christ to be crucified, Jesus was rejected three times by Peter. Another example is found in Matthew 8 when a whole town pleaded with Jesus to leave.
Rejection is one of the biggest tools Satan uses against us. Know that God empathizes with your feelings and he has not rejected you, nor will he ever forsake you. Know that God will heal your heart. It’s not a matter of if but when. God has plans to give you an abundant future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11). This tragic moment may be a part of your future story to help others who may face the pain of being cheated on. He is the comforter and he will comfort you. He is the sustainer and he will sustain you. Your story isn’t over yet. Your God is faithful.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Heather Riggleman calls Nebraska home (Hey, it’s not for everyone). She writes to bring through bold truths and raw faith about marriage, careers, mental health, depression, faith, relationships, celebration and heartache. Heather is a former national award-winning journalist and is the author of Mama Needs a Time Out and Let’s Talk About Prayer. Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman and Focus On the Family. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com.
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