Have you been sullied by the sin of adultery? Have you ever been anguished for a friend’s or relative’s marriage that has been crippled by adultery? The church has its own say about these rampant issues, but do we handle it the way Jesus would? How to deal with adultery in the church?
The Burden of Betrayal
We don’t have to define this word. It is such a flagrant issue that society accepts it as just that. It is but normal. Adultery happens and definitely not only bounded to nonbelievers. It can and does happens in the church. Worst case is, sometimes it does happen among church leaders. A church can be in a very difficult predicament as to how to deal with such a serious circumstances.
How we respond to the existence of sexual sin within the church discloses a lot about our own relational, spiritual and sexual maturity as well as those with whom we have communion with. Typically, sexual sin does not happen overnight. Nobody surprisingly falls into a one-night stand or just happened to start looking at pornography at a glance, without even meaning to. There is lastingness both in the process of falling into sexual sin and then years in which the sin is being kept secret from everyone. The question that we need to answer is, “What have we been doing personally to address sexual sin in the life of our church?”
Adultery is not just the problem of the sinner but of the church, as a whole. We may want to blame sexually disinterested wives and then utter, “Men are simply being men, sexually hardwired.” The problem of sexual dissatisfaction in Christian marriages is vital, however, this is related to a considerable problem of spiritual, relational and sexual maturity.
Writings On The Ground
Adultery is such an ugly thing that has very horrid consequences. Nevertheless, despite the ugliness, incredible mercy and atonement happen. Sin has never been condoned by God; neither should it be condoned by the church. But we should never forget that for every sin that has been committed and will be committed, the punishment has already been paid by the blood of Jesus.
In John 8:1-12, an adulterous woman was brought to Jesus by the scholars and the Pharisees, we may call them “church people” in today’s time. The church people strongly challenged punishment for the woman. They asked Jesus, “What do you say?”
So what did Jesus do? This is the interesting part. Jesus stooped to the ground and with his fingers, wrote on the ground, as though he did not hear the accusations and demands. Despite that, the Pharisees persisted. After a while, here is what Jesus said, with conviction and redemption:
“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:7
When the accusers heard Jesus’ words, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest until it was only Jesus and the woman left. If the members of the body of Christ were more condemned of our own conscience, we would less likely hand over our brothers and sisters up to be punished. If the light of God’s word really shined in all of our “dark places,” we would find it easier to bestow grace.
How to deal with adultery in the church? Let us always look to Jesus for answers. Jesus came to restore all of us back to God. He never condemned. Likewise, the church must handle the sin of adultery with grace and mercy.