Sometimes sin infiltrates our lives and our marriages. Sin wounds us and offers helplessness. Sin can weigh so heavily on our hearts that we literally feel like our spirits are crushed. Our heart feels broken. We are left feeling too weak to face tomorrow. Too sad to crack a smile. We are overcome with desperation and isolation. Sin has the ability to drive us away from God.
Regardless of who sinned in your marriage, it hurts all the same. What matters, is your response to the sin. This was a painful lesson for me to learn.
Here’s the good news. God has a plan for your life. And He has a promise for your heart. It defies all logic. Sometimes, God’s plan just doesn’t make sense at the time. It goes against all worldly emotion and advice.
I’d like to share with you a time in my own marriage that was troubled with sin.
I felt trapped by the sin that had wormed its way, unexpectedly, into my marriage. Despite my husband being loving and supportive and faithful, despite him providing for our family and despite his amazing parental traits, he sinned. And his sin stared at me in the face, challenging me and telling me I wasn’t strong enough to overcome this. Sin had imprisoned my husband and it was threatening to hold me captive as well.
I’ve said this before, but if I would have listened to all the worldly advice when my own marriage was suffering through sin, I would not be married today. People: friends and acquaintances, even Christians told me – you don’t need to put up with this, you should leave and teach him a lesson, you are better than this, etc.
God told me something different. In deep prayer to God I called out to Him in complete desperation. I told Him,
God, I don’t have patience for your riddles and scavenger hunts. I need to hear from you now. I need to know what you want me to do! Do I stay or do I leave?
I continued to lay there in my tears for a few minutes. Suddenly, I felt a peace come over me and an urging to open the Bible app on my phone. I opened the daily devotion and this is what I saw:
Advice for the Married Couple – Concerning a Change in Status
Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. (1 Corinthians 7:17)
Where was I when God had first called me? I was married. I was kind of shocked that His answer was so blatant and surprised that I even got an answer in-spite of my impatient attitude toward Him. But He answered me out of love. And He answered me out of truth. He told me – STAY. I continued to pray to Him and thank Him and I felt deep inside my heart His promise:
I’ve got this. Everything will be okay. Just go out there and love your husband. Forgive your husband. I NEED you to forgive him and help him climb out of this hole. Be there for him, just like I have been there for you.
This experience changed my life. It changed my heart and transformed my marriage. This experience and short scripture, 1 Corinthians 7:17, allowed my husband to be redeemed in my heart. This verse changed my response to sin that threatened to hold me captive. From that moment on, I knew where God wanted me and it helped me to forgive. God challenged me to be more Christ-like. And in accepting His challenge it softened my heart and allowed me to see my husband the way God sees him – as a favored child of God. And it allowed me to see his sin the way God sees it – just sin, plain and simple. Sin does not make a man, God does. God was quick to point out that I shouldn’t judge his sin, because truth be told, I have enough of my own that I desperately try to hide and protect. This season in my life showed me what true forgiveness looked like and it highlighted my own shortcomings. It was quite humbling.
It is important to separate the sin from the person. It is important to see your husband through Jesus-lenses and it is important to see yourself this way too. God has forgiven you and offered His grace and love to you. As wives, we should mirror God’s best character trait of grace and forgiveness.
But most important of all – always trust God’s promise for marriage. Put your hope in His word to you. Don’t let worldly advice come before God’s plan for you. God alone has your best interests at hand. He loves you and your marriage so deeply and He will never leave you or forsake you.