Thursday, March 12, 2015

Love the sinner

So I recently wrote about my feelings on cheating. And they haven't changed in the last few days :) But there is one thing I want to clarify about it all.

To recap my previous post, I hate cheating. I HATE it. Don't understand it. Never have, never will. I feel like people are giving up too quickly on marriages. Throwing in the towel when things get a little bit tough because divorce has become easy and "uncoupling" seems like the thing to do.

All of that aside, behind every decision to cheat on a spouse or end a marriage is a person who is broken. There's a reason they're acting out. Not that that excuses them in any way. I walk a very fine line on my feelings for people that choose to do that and on any given day can convince myself to flip flop from disgust to pity in five seconds flat.

I don't hate them. I WANT to....I want to so badly. I want to chastise them and shame them and berate them and ask them what the HELL they are thinking putting their husband/wife/children through the shit-storm that is infidelity and divorce and scream at them until they feel as bad as they made other people feel.

But I can't.

I want to turn my back on them and refuse to speak to them and exile them from my life and the lives of anybody they've hurt so they understand the severity of their actions. Because when you cheat on somebody, you aren't just cheating on THEM. You're changing lives. You're affecting your OWN family and THEIR family. You're affecting your friendships and theirs. You've made decisions for people who have no say in the matter. What it boils down to is......I want them to get what they deserve.

.......But what if I got what I deserve?

Because ultimately, aren't we ALL sinners? Haven't we ALL fallen short of the glory of God? Where would we be if we all got what we deserved?

I hate, HATE seeing people that I care about hurting. I've never been cheated on as a girlfriend or spouse, but as a child whose dad has left them for no reason other than "he found a new girlfriend"........well.........as you can imagine, my empathy level for cheaters is non-existant.

But they're still just people. And they'll have to stand before His throne some day just like I will and answer for the things they've done in their life. Just like I will. Sin is sin is sin. And their sin is no worse than mine. So while I WANT to hate them and stay angry for a lifetime.......I can't. Because if there's one thing I've learned in this messy world, it's this....

Love the sinner, hate the sin.

It's okay to hate what they've done. It's okay to hate the hurt they've caused. It's okay to hate the situation. It's okay to hate the sin. But what good does it do to hate the sinner?

Matthew West sings a song about forgiveness and the whole song speaks volumes into my life, but there's one verse that hits home every time I hear it.

"Even when the jury and the judge
Say you've got a right to hold a grudge,
It's the whisper in your ear saying, "Set it free."

I feel like in so many life situations, we look to our family and our friends for validation. We need to hear them say, "Yes! You're doing the right thing!" We need SOMEBODY to back us up and assure us we're not crazy. So when infidelity occurs and families are hurting and crying and hemorraghing from the damage that's been done...it would be SO easy to listen to the jury and the judge. To condemn the one who's done you wrong because everybody agrees that what they've done is unthinkable. To do what the world does and walk away from anybody who hurts you.

But I have to say that the marriages I respect the most are the ones that have been to hell and back and lasted anyways. When a spouse who's been cheated on can stay married to their husband/wife and is willing to work through the pain, trust issues, uncertainty of the future.....then you know they've truly lived up to their marriage vows. They are being the hands and feet of Jesus to their spouse. Forgiving when it feels impossible. Loving when it seems impossible. Staying married when it seems impossible.

And then rejoicing together when it finally gets better. When they finally start bearing the fruit of their labor. When their marriage finally becomes what God intended it to be.

A marriage that's been to hell and back is all the more beautiful in the end.

So to those who've stayed married through infidelity (and even through the daily ho-humness of life!)...........I have no words for the respect I have towards you. I admire your strength and perseverance and dedication to your marriage. I encourage you to keep going. Keep trying. Even when the jury and the judge say you have a right to hold a grudge.....know that there is somebody SOMEWHERE praying for you to have the strength to hang on.

And for those who have cheated, know that there's somebody somewhere praying for you, too. It takes courage to admit to what you've done, humbleness to ask for forgiveness and strength to turn away from past sin and start fresh again.

It's a daily struggle to forgive. It's something I work on almost hourly some days. But there is such beauty and restoration when the process is over. 

In the end, we should all be grateful we don't get what we really deserve.



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