I love your blog and your audios. You are an inspiration to me and are my mentor! The UHSE has blessed me more than you can possibly imagine!
I am writing to you because I don’t really know where else to turn.
Today I found out that my sister has begun an affair with a married man. I am devastated and completely heartbroken. I learned yesterday that this was a possibility, but it was confirmed today. Last night I talked and prayed with my very godly mother-in-law and really felt led by the Lord to sever my relationship with my sister (she is a professing Christian). I have told my sister that our relationship is over until she severs ties with this man and that she is to have no contact with my children. I guess my question is, how do I carry this out? We live in different states, so day to day is not a problem, but I’ve had to tell her that she is unwelcome at my daughter’s birthday party and my son’s soccer game. I’ve also told her that we will attend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my parents and she is welcome, but if she brings the man we will leave. How do I explain what is happening to my children? What do I tell them about why we no longer see nay-nay and why she never comes to see them? I feel like they should know that when a brother or sister in Christ is unrepentant, we are to sever ties until they repent. But I obviously don’t want to get into the lurid details.
Maybe I just needed to pour my heart out to someone who is outside the situation. My mother is devastated. My husband is sickened. If feel totally repulsed by the thought of her. We have been extremely close in the past. I just don’t know where to turn. She just cannot see the pain that she has caused her family.
Thank you so much for taking the time to “listen!”
Your sister in Christ Jesus,
My heart goes out to you sweet friend. I am sorry for the delay in getting back in touch with you. I wanted to run this by my hubby. He and I talked about this over dinner. Wish you were here. 🙂
We both agree with your heart. This is a very, very serious sin. It is wonderful that you care enough to say something to her. So many people turn their cheek and ignore sin. All along the way, they have loved ones who do not know that there is a better way to live.
So, what do you do?
Harold and I talked about this. We really do not have enough information to tell you exactly what to do. Of course, the perfect answer is to run to God and seek HIM for His way. I think that is why Harold and I often do not have answers—the real answer is to run to God. He always has answers and He will always show us the way if we seek Him diligently.
You probably know that the first “feelings” to rise up are grief, sorrow, sadness. I feel them for you. I feel them for your children. I feel them for your sister. I feel them for this man. I feel them for his wife and family. Adultery affects SO MANY PEOPLE! It breaks so many hearts. It complicates so many lives.
So, what do you do?
Harold and I both felt that you have done the best thing in going directly to your sister. She will one day know how much you love her when she looks back. She is going to need to know that when she realizes where this sin has taken her. It is going to be a tough place for her. She will need to know that you love her and that you have open arms for her. She will need a shelter to run to.
So, NOW what do you do? Rest. Rest beloved friend. You don’t have to explain ANYTHING to your children. In fact, I would not go there. Your children do not need to be put in that position. Our job as mothers is to protect our children and guard them—their hearts and minds. I know you are upset, hurt, and angry, but your children are your priority. Guard them. Not by cutting her off, but by taking everything to God and leaving it there. More on this in a bit.
Also, I would not recommend cutting off relationship with her. God sent Jesus to mend relationships. Satan is the one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy. He condemns. He judges. He accuses. You will not see him extending grace, mercy, or love. Cutting off a relationship seems to me to have the same fruit of the enemy and not very much fruit like God.
So, how does God deal with us when we are in sin? He does not cut us off. He is right there with us all along. Now, WE might not be in the position to HEAR HIM . We may not feel CLOSE to Him. But, what we do does not ever change our position as His beloved—one of the passages of Scripture that just slaughtered my pride and my QUIT mentality when we rebuilt our marriage was Hosea (read that book of the Bible—it is amazing!). What we do does not ever sever our relationship with Him. We are in a covenant relationship with Him. We are covered in the Blood of Christ. He KNOWS we will fail. He KNOWS we will fall short. Yet, He does not cut us off—He loves us, covers us, and extends grace and mercy. WE MAY LEAVE, but He stays the same. He is ever waiting for us to return to Him. And, the best news, He doesn’t make us come all the way back groveling and crawling to Him. HE RUNS TO US!
Sweet friend, I KNOW adultery hurts, but if you want to know what we did when we faced it in our own marriage, we chose to forgive. Forgiveness is powerful! It knocks down the walls. It melts the pain away. It heals all of the broken places. I know the power of forgiveness for each and every person involved. It is the key to getting where God wants for us to be. POWERFUL!
What is the test for forgiveness? Well, are we forgiving them like we would OTHER SINS? I mean, are we as graceful and easy to forgive THIS SIN like we are other sins that we may struggle with? I am very gracious about people who forget…people who are busy…people who are mouthy, but apologize quick…people who over-eat and love lattes. Oh! But, there are some tough places for me. I have a hard time with people who gossip…people who commit adultery…people who abuse children…on and on. Funny how I have grace for things that *I DO* but an intolerance for things that have hurt me or that I really don’t battle with as much.
Can we forgive those who commit adultery like we would forgive our buddy who forgot to help us with a project that we ended up having to take the slack? Can we forgive as graciously when they struggle with the sin of adultery? Let me explain how God put it to me…
I had a struggle a while back with a friend who really hurt me deep. Her words just kept replaying in my mind. I tried hard to forgive her, but seeing her was sooo tough that I found myself grinding my teeth the moment I saw her. I was determined to forgive her, but it was tough. She was not sorry in the very least. She still has not apologized or taken back one word that she said. I tried hard. She just did not move.
Finally, one day I saw her. My teeth started grinding. I felt that flush come to my face. I was “taking the forgiveness test” again. Only this time, God made the test even tougher! God spoke to my heart to treat her JUST LIKE I TREAT LUCIA. I am not sure if you know how much I love Lucia, but she is my very, very best girl-friend. We have been best buddies for years and years. I would do anything on earth for her. God was telling me to treat this other friend, who had wounded me sooo deeply, just like I treat Lucia. That meant that I looked at her with eyes of love. I let the STUFF go, because I choose to love her. I was to choose to enjoy my time with her. I was to look at her with love and grace, not wondering if THIS TIME she might could apologize and make things right. Talk about getting me to the core. Oh, that is not all!
Nope, that is not all. God flooded my mind with a “pop test” to see how I was doing while I talked with her (does He do that to anyone else?). He flooded 1 Corinthians 13 through my mind:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.
Was I patient? Did I want things to be resolved FAST!
Was I kind? Like I would be to Lucia? Like I would be to my husband? Like I would be to my children?
What was my attitude—envious, boastful, proud? In fact, was my pride surfacing AT ALL?
Was I polite, not rude? Was I careful in everything I was saying—to say it like I would to Lucia?
Was I seeking after MY WAY, trying to take care of MYSELF? Was I laying down MY WAY, MYSELF, MY PREFERENCES, MY WILL for her? Was I surrendered no matter how she treated ME?
Was I ready for a problem—easily angered? Touchy? On egg-shells? GRINDING MY TEETH?
Where all of the words and offenses racing through my head—the record of wrongs STILL THERE? Was I thinking of what she had done wrong? Remembering it is keeping a record.
Was I protecting HER like I would Lucia?
Was I willing to trust her even though she was not changing? To trust her like I trust Lucia—with my genuine and real friendship?
Was I willing to keep on keeping on—to persevere through anything for her?
Was I willing to love her with an unfailing love?
Boy, God slaughtered me to the core that day. He told me that if I was not loving her and forgiving her with an unfailing love, then I was sinning just like her. I was hurting her and others as deeply or more so than she had hurt me. He told me that LOVE was the key.
What happened? A miracle! Yep! She never apologized. But, God did a miracle. You see forgiveness does not change the circumstances. Often, it does not immediately change the person we forgive. But, it does unleash God to do a miracle.
Sweet friend, I know how tough adultery is. I experienced the ramifications of it as a child. I also experienced the side of it as one who was betrayed by my very best friend. It hurts. It cuts deep. I TOTALLY know your pain. But, God is calling you to a higher place here. He does not want for you to take the bait of offense. He wants for you to choose love, forgiveness, grace, mercy. Those are tough, but they are worth it. They unleash God to do mighty things!
What about the holidays? Well, sweet friend, you have a choice before you. You do not get very many holidays with your children at home. You do not get many holidays with your parents. These days are very, very precious. No one wants TROUBLE. No one wants PROBLEMS. No one wants a memory of strife and fighting. You are a Christian—you have power within you to keep you from succumbing to the temptation to fight, feud, quarrel, or have problems with others.
I have spent my entire adult life spending holidays with my family. Every year there COULD have been an issue like this. I have family members who have made very poor choices. I could list a lot of junk here, but so could they about me! I had choices. I wanted to enjoy my family. Yes, I wanted for them to be “right” with God. But, it was not my place to be their Holy Spirit and convict them of their sin. God is powerful. The Holy Spirit has not gotten lax or missed sin in our day. He is FULLY able to work without our help. Actually, far too often, we get in the middle and mess things up.
This year, I got the most delightful call of my life. After 23 years my brother surrendered his life to God. Talk about a sweet blessing. All along he had watched me. He KNEW I was here. He KNEW he could come to me and that I would have open arms. We have had a sweet year. Sweetest ever. I cannot imagine cutting him off while he was struggling. That is not looking like my Abba Father.
So, after all of that, I think you know where we are.
Sweet friend, run to God. Pour it all out there. Let HIM have it all. Then, take your hands off. Let it go! Choose LOVE. Enjoy your holidays. Make sweet memories—even with your sister.
Can I tell you something else? There will come a time when your children are not going to please you. There will be a time when they will make mistakes. They need to KNOW that you will not cut them off. They need to know that sin grieves you and hurts you, but that you will never bail on them no matter what mistakes they make, no matter what choices they make.
One thing that I have seen A LOT with parents of older children is that they hold their blessing, their relationship, their approval hostage in order to manipulate their children into right choices. This is wicked. This is controlling. This is like witch-craft. It is not godly. It is wicked.
You know I love you and I don’t want to hurt you, but I think you know where I am going to go here. I know that you are hurt. I know that you are mad. I COMPLETELY understand. But, today God wants for you to bring everything TO HIM. Let HIM take care of all of the details. Let HIM convict, correct, and restore. You have done the right thing in sharing your disappointment, but don’t let the enemy take you down the wrong path. The enemy always wants for us to take things in our own hands and “help” God get things done quicker, faster, and our way. But, that is just it. That is what the ENEMY wants. God is not sweating over this one. God will take care of this. He will correct her. You said she is a believer. That means that she is a child of God. God corrects and disciplines His children because He loves them. Let Him alone with her and stay out of it.
I don’t know how your dynamics were as children, but I remember when my children were younger, Elisabeth and Matthew always had a tendency to want to SEE ME discipline the other child. They always wanted to tell me how to discipline the other child. They LOVED getting in the middle of my discipline to the other person. When they were pretty young, I began to try to take them away from the other to discipline them. It was just better for their relationship. They may have not THOUGHT so, but it was. Also, it was better for their relationship with me. Otherwise, they got into my business without knowing my mind, my heart, my intentions. They always missed it. They had no place getting involved. I had it all under control. I was already at work!
We are like that with God too. We want to be sure that He takes care of things. We want to help Him out. We “stress-out” when we do not SEE what He is doing to take care of things. Yet, if He treats YOU like He does me, He has told me that it is BETTER for my pride, my haughtiness for Him to do what needs to be done to someone without ME KNOWING. He knows that I enjoy seeing them “pay” for their mistakes—not my best quality, huh? He wants me to have a clean heart. The only way I can have a clean heart is if God corrects me and keeps me in my own business. It doesn’t feel good at the moment, but HE IS FAITHFUL. He never, ever fails. He will set things right. And…He does it faster and much better when I get out of the way. 🙂
Sweet friend, don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Pull back, run to God, pour out everything that is inside (every bit!). Pour out until you feel His sweet peace flood in. Then, find a way to stay in peace. There is a choice before you. Proverbs 14: 1 says that the wise woman BUILDS HER HOME, but the foolish woman tears down her home with her own hands. In the next few months you have the opportunity to build your home. You are building a legacy. You are furnishing “your home” with memories, traditions, ways of God. Don’t take the bait of the enemy. Choose love. Choose forgiveness.
Maybe today might be a good day to call your sister and apologize for your harsh words and threats. Just ask her for forgiveness. Tell her you love her and only want the best for her. Apologize for judging her. Tell her that your immediate reaction was wrong. Then, see what happens. I am not saying to EXPECT things to happen YOUR WAY. I am saying that love never fails. Love her. Love her deeply. Where you run out of love, ask God to flow through you. Then, watch what happens. God’s love is unfailing. It always works.
AND…I am only a click away. Please, please let me know if you need me. Sweet friend, this is not easy stuff. This is Christianity to the nitty-gritty. But, it does work. It is sweet then! Press in to God until this trial is sweet. He always makes lemonade out of the lemons in life!
I love you! I am praying hard for you tonight!