I have been in the Christian community all of my life, but I cannot remember one time ever hearing someone teach on affairs in the church. I remember hearing about preachers cheating, the deacon cheating and the church secretaries cheating but never hearing or seeing this issue being dealt with in an educational or informational manner. Now, I understand because it would be hard to teach on something that you yourself have not experienced or overcome. In most cases if someone has experienced an affair in the church, they are not willing to risk the ridicule and judgments that will follow after exposing their affair. It is almost as if when you have an affair the church is going to crucify you to the cross.
I am sure this is one of the reasons that Christians do not speak on this issue, because they do not want to risk the emotional crucifixion in front of the congregation. I know what I am speaking of because I kept my affair hidden for 13 years. During this time I was teaching, preaching and encouraging men to be faithful to their wives. I was a young Christian minister, with a great family, who loved God, but who had also messed up. I did not want to tell my wife because I knew or assumed she would leave me. I did not want to tell my Pastor because I felt like he would label me a cheater and an adulterer.
The truth is, although I had prayed to God for forgiveness and knew that He forgave me, I was more afraid of what people would say about me. The church is a place of emotional healing not emotional killing. It is really amazing to me how as Christians we can confess to God what we have done and walk away from His presence with a smile. But, when we confess to the Christian community our wrongs we walk with our heads down. The bible clearly states that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world. Condemnation is not of God and it should not be a part of the church. The truth is the more the church continually causes spouses to hide their affairs whether emotional or physical in the church. The more affairs will continue to keep happening and the divorce rate will continue to rise.
The church was designed to be a place of safe exposure because as the bible states, “we all have sinned”. Please do not misunderstand me, you cannot just wake up on your own and say today is my day of exposure, because you need support. I am not suggesting that you call your Pastor immediately and say, “I had an affair or I am in an affair”. I have been through enough church hurt and know from experience exposing the truth to the wrong person or at the wrong time could cause more emotional pain. So, please make sure you have an emotional safety net in place prior to exposing yourself.
I believe in my heart if the church begins to expose affairs, this would begin to change the very fiber of marriage consciousness all over our country. Many people say, “If the church is filled with people that do not value or respect their marriage or their covenant promises to God, then why should I”. My wife’s affair has taught me that there are not only cheating husbands, but also cheating wives in the pew. This is the reason my wife and I have committed to take this stand of courage. We are willing to fully expose our affairs to the Christian community that others may gain confidence and strength to become healed in their marriage. The Christian community needs to take the leading role in setting the example of Godly forgiveness. I believe as more confessions and forgiveness takes place in the church, the divorce rate will be begin to decrease. And as the divorce rate decreases, the number of sons and daughters growing up without fathers will also decrease.