Friday, February 27, 2015

As much as it might hurt...

I have had lively debates with friends over questions like “Should a cheating spouse tell their spouse what they have done if they have the help they need? Won’t it preserve the family if the spouse doesn’t know?” The reality is that the truth must be told, not just to a pastor or accountability partner but also to the spouse whose trust was betrayed. Without honesty, the trust in any relationship isn’t real! Confessing our sins allows us to build authentic trust that leads to true intimacy.

Some might reply: “But I will create a huge mess by letting the wronged parties know about my sin. Aaron, your Swatch story is child’s play compared to the mess I would make and the people I would hurt.”

The key is to understand that, as Andy Stanley said, “confession doesn’t hurt people, sin and concealment hurt people.”—What’s Your Secret? pages 68-69

<idle musing>
As much as it might hurt, he's right. There was a line by Billy Crystal in City Slickers. His macho buddy was giving hypothetical situations where sex outside of marriage might be ok. He creates a real whopper: some alien comes to earth and wants to have sex with him. No one will ever know; the alien will step off the spaceship, then back on without detection. Billy Crystal's response was excellent, "I'll know." That sums it up.

You will know. It will haunt you and overshadow your life. Unconfessed sin always does... (No, I haven't sinned against my wife sexually, but I've done sinful and hurtful things against her and tried to keep them secret. It doesn't work...)
</idle musing>


That's my 2 cents! said...


I agree with you more than I disagree, but this time I disagree.

Were I married, and if I cheated on my wife, why should she be burdened with my sin? True repentance does not seek to burden the wronged person. The heart of the truly repentant person is to unburden those they've wronged. When the Holy Spirit gives true repentance he enables us to experience real pain and sorrow over the wrongs we've done against God and others.

If I commit adultery that is my sin, and like it or not whatever consequences come my way are my burden. If my heart is truly motivated not to cause a greater burden upon those I've injured then I'm doing the right thing.

I'm not talking about protecting or enabling adulterers. The right heart motive is to withhold more harm from those already wounded.

Grace and peace,


jps said...


Well, I have to say that I'm glad you don't always agree with me. But in this case, I'm right : )

One thing we tend to forget here in the west is that sin is social. It isn't just "between me and God." It always includes others.

The other thing about sin is that it will eventually out. and then what? I've been married to Debbie for over 37 years now. What if I kept a secret from her and then 5, 10, 15 years later she found out?

What would her response be? Sure, she would be mad and hurt. But more importantly, she would begin to wonder what else has he been hiding from me?

I've seen this in other relationships over the years. Every time that I'm aware of, the results of "accidenta"" discovery—even years after the event—has been a destruction of trust. Sure, the confession will bring some of that, but by bringing it to your spouse, you are taking responsibility, acknowledging that you sinned, and asking to rebuild the trust.

It's not easy either way—sin's consequences never are—but the proactive one has a better chance of allowing the marriage to prosper and grow than the alternative. It might survive, but it will be tough for it to grow.

Just an <idle musing>