Archives For Affairs

When I’m talking with someone who has been deeply betrayed by a friend, a family member, or a coworker, they often ask, “How can I ever trust him again? He said he was sorry, but how do I know if he is truly sorry about the damage he’s done or if he’s just sorry he got caught? I don’t want to get burned again.”

Those are tough questions, because there’s a lot at stake for both the betrayer and the betrayed.

Rebuilding trust in a relationship after a bitter betrayal almost feels like an insurmountable task. No one in his right mind would dare trust a spouse who was unfaithful, a coworker who stole his good idea, or a friend who lied about him behind his back. Would you?

But what if that person apologizes? Then what? How can you know if someone has truly repented?

As Jesus’ followers, we talk about repentance—that radical change of heart and mind that alters one’s perspective and reshapes behavior patterns to look more like Jesus.  It’s been a part of the Jesus story from the beginning. John the Baptist referred to it as “producing fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8).

Testing repentance is vital to rebuilding trust in a broken relationship. So what are some of the signs of a repentant heart?

King David—a man whose deceit betrayed his wife and his nation—said it best: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

One place to begin looking for “fruit” that reveals a deeply rooted heart of repentance is in how the repentant betrayer responds when questioned. A repentant person demonstrates a humble attitude that is neither demanding nor defensive when questioned. There is an openness that replaces deceit, a willingness to be accountable for his or her actions on multiple levels without resorting to blaming others or making excuses for failures.

It’s only through experiencing a consistency in both attitudes and actions that reflect repentance that the betrayed individual will over time begin to take the risky steps towards trusting again.

How much time? As much as it takes.

And the repentant person will humbly wait for as long as it takes, knowing that the celebration over restoration will be a sweet harvest for both parties—a harvest that repentance and forgiveness has made possible because of Jesus’ example.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Cor. 7:10).

Many spouses beat themselves up after their partner has had an affair. Somehow they begin thinking it was their fault. But what they fail to understand is that their unfaithful partners don’t have affairs primarily for sexual pleasure. What attracts people to affairs is that they become opportunities for them to experience pleasure without the responsibilities of relationship.

Divorce, abuse, betrayal are just a few of the wounds we suffer from others that are so damaging that it often feels impossible to ever forgive. Listen in as Dr. Dan Allender explains how there are no easy answers to these complex issues.

 

The continuum of sexual addictions is broader than you might think. It often begins with seemingly benign sexual fantasies and escalates into soft porn in magazines and internet. From there it grows into increasingly harder core pron and can eventually be acted out at strip clubs, affairs, and prostitution. Explore with Larry Crabb the degree of sexual addictions and the destructive effect they have on real intimacy and relationships.

Why is adultery and infidelity hardly ever associated with the word “sin” today? Whether it’s the stories we hear in small groups at church or what we see on the television or at the theater, sex for immediate pleasure has become the highest priority. The idea that God has something bigger and even more pleasurable to offer to those who are faithful isn’t even an afterthought.

We live in a world where what was once considered immoral is now accepted as somewhat normal sexual behavior. An even more alarming fact is that affairs, and sexual promiscuity like “hooking up” are also becoming prevalent within the church. What is going on that has give rise to these shifts in values and behaviors?