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Why Do So Many Churches Treat Adultery As Passively As David Treated Amnon?

Discussion in 'Married Couples' started by unfinishedclay, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    Betrayed spouses are already under attack by adultery itself. But at some point, betrayed spouses come under attack of many (false) accusations like: being accused of being unforgiving due to an overly emotional display of anger, being accused of contributing to the wayward spouse's affair for having faults like all spouses do have, and being accused of being jealous for reacting to the affair with angry outbursts.

    Today I am completely disheartened. My pastor is a very humble person and is very gracious toward our congregation. But today's message only reminded me of how passive so many churches are about adultery. He described the anger of betrayed spouses as jealousy. And he used the story of Clara Harris who ran over her husband when she found out about his affair with his dental hygienist. As if all betrayed spouses are murderous for being angry and even irate?

    Of course, I'm a betrayed wife almost 2 years out of discovery. So, I certainly see his message as incredibly insensitive. But how does his message come across to people who may be in the congregation as either currently enduring temptation to have an extra marital affair or already in a secret affair? Affair partners, as I've learned in my support group, typically love to deflect their character flaws onto betrayed spouses by accusing them of being jealous. Long ago, I've felt like too many sermons, teachings, and apathetic attitudes of leadership enable these foul attitudes just as David's passivity enabled Amnon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  2. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From what you said it sounds to me like your Pastor is concerned about anger so intense that it leads to domestic violence. Maybe you should have a meeting with him instead of asking people on here that don't know what or how he said it and what he intended.
    Lack of communication often just leads to more misunderstandings.
     
  3. Winken

    Winken Jonah !!! Supporter

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    I ditto Post #2.
     
  4. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    No, he equated anger from marital betrayal as jealousy. The subject was not on domestic violence. He was comparing human jealousy to God being a jealous God. The problem I'm having is the mention of marital betrayal as the betrayed spouse being jealous. And again, it's really disturbing to see that it's a widespread attitude within the Body of Christ. I know I'm venting. But I really don't understand the shrug-of-the-shoulders attitude about adultery. It's so minimized and treated as no big deal, that betrayed spouses are pushed further in the corner of isolation - (by our churches).

    And I've already been in several sessions with him and my husband. Many sessions proved the adultery is treated as minimized. And in many sessions, I was the one treated as the one with the problem. One betrayed wife left our church and moved out of state due to the process of dealing with her husband's affair. I don't know what happened in any session they may have had. All I know is that her husband confessed to the congregation. But over a course of time, the wife eventually moved away.

    In my support group, I befriended one of the few Christians who belonged to it with me and a handful of other Christians (in the midst of many betrayed spouses who are not in the faith). She told me she's leaving her church because of the challenge in how her situation is dealt with in addition to dealing with her challenge married to her cheater. I understand that cheaters sympathize and advocate each other. But I don't understand our churches' approach. And I wonder where is there a church that labels wrong as wrong and right as right without sending out mixed messages.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  5. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Go ahead and vent, that can be a healthy thing to do. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    Generally speaking, the church's focus is on bringing lost or wayward sinners back to Christ, or back to their walk with Christ.

    In general, the betrayed spouse is already beaten down, has fled to the Lord with their problems and are in a tender, humble place. The church doesn't view them as in need of evangelizing like the wayward spouse is.

    The church's "client" so to speak, then becomes the wayward spouse. This foments MUCH spiritual abuse towards the wronged spouse, whether the spouse was wronged due to abuse or infidelity.

    Often the abused/wronged spouse is pressured to accept sin leveling and to forgive. When the wronged spouse's instincts are rightly telling him/her that there is no equivalence in the wrongs, the church will change the focus of their remediation and discipline towards the wronged spouse's unforgiveness. The perpetrator eats this all up because he/she gets off the hot seat, becomes the sympathetic figure to the church.

    The lengths a church may go to act against the betrayed spouse in protection of their client (waywards and abusers are often magnificent manipulators) varies. I've seen the type of experience you suffered last Sunday all of the way to very cruel and extreme forms of manipulation, up to and including church discipline against the betrayed/wronged spouse when they can no longer bear to attend a church sympathizing with their abuser.

    When the wronged spouse is the wife, there is an especial additional vulnerability in some types of churches because they are told their role is submission and to endure in the hopes that their husband may be saved. I've seen cases where such wives were disciplined for gossiping when they brought the matter to the church for help because they were talking about their husbands (albeit to church leadership for help). The husband faced a slight chortling admonition for not having his household (wife) in better hand - usually over a guys only lunch or something.

    Pastors/churches are a very unreliable source of help for infidelity and abuse. When I talk to people with marital problems I no longer ever recommend they reach out to their church because church reactions are not predictable. It's like recommending someone play Russian roulette. You don't know how it will turn out, but one of the possibilities is unacceptable.

    So, I always recommend another Christian resource for abused spouses that is very predictable, methodical and sound in understanding abuse, infidelity and marital restoration.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
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  7. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    As my understanding and experiences were growing on this issue, I initially would reach out to pastors who I thought would be receptive to realizing how an abused/betrayed spouse took their comments.

    To my surprise, most of them had no ears to hear and would argue their perspective for paragraphs. Their belief in their sin leveling or submission doctrines were a blockage to their understanding. I don't even bother anymore. I feel my time is better spent reaching out to the victims themselves.

    I know several other abuse or infidelity survivors who felt a burden to start reaching out to our brothers and sisters in this situation. We all had similar experiences and came to the same conclusion.
     
  8. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    Endeavorer thank you. This is a reminder of a calling I did finally accept through all the pain, coupled with the occasional insensitive comments that i believe are made with good intentions and in naive ignorance, as someone pointed out in my support group before telling me to cut him slack for that reason. I think it would actually be easier to take your word for it and know that there are attitudes in leadership that gravitate to the safety blanket of stubbornness and pride rather than offer the remedy of correction or even clarity. I dare believe, with proven reason, that my pastor really is more humble than most that i've seen and heard of. So if I ever bring it to his attention, it would have to be after receiving from the Lord that I should if I'm seeing discussion is required to clear any tension, as Jesus instructed we take an issue of offense to be reconciled. I don't see it along those lines tho . I am concerned however about effective discipleship for my husband and other wayward minded people.

    Anyway my calling is very much like yours. Utilize my pain to help others that are hurting by infidelity.
     
  9. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome.

    I pray your outreach to your pastor results in success.

    I've been very careful to keep my outreaches kind, humble and caring. I am a trained negotiator in my day job so I definitely know how to win friends, stay open to dialog and close a deal that works for everyone.

    However, even those pastors who seem to have a sweet spirit of love in their hearts have been very disappointing. As they start turning away, I end up sharing more details of my painful experiences just thinking that could help them understand the perspective of the abused/betrayed. So they turn more and then I share more, earnestly believing they WANT to minister to the wounded but just didn't understand my point.

    At the end, they turn away and I feel like I re-lived the most painful experience in my life just to throw the pearls of my tears before the swine... if I'm lucky. Sometimes it's like feeding a dog that turns on you instead.

    Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matt 7:6

    I just don't put myself out there like that anymore.

    A pastor has to truly understand evil, and that there are people whose consciences are seared with a hot iron and whose hearts the Lord has hardened. He has to be willing to study and recognize evil. He has to be willing to forsake the pursuit of such lost ones and instead minister to the brother or sister in Christ that was wounded by the evil. Many pastors are not exposed to this during their training so, failing to identify them as such, they try to enforce the Love chapter or other inapplicable Scripture to benefit perpetrators and manipulators.

    Paul talks about delivering someone to the devil so their soul may be saved. Generally speaking, today's pastors are trained to turn on the victim before they let go of the lost one.

    Again, I exclude those pastors who are the exception to this. To my experience, they are few. If a pastor who is reading this is the exception, I do not include you by this reference.
     
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  10. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

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    I think also what you say is probably summed up by your header verse James 1.19, as you pass through the vale of affliction.
     
  11. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    I think this is a flaw in many different shoes, including some parenting of multiple kids, in the workplace, and in other settings. I know I've certainly faltered. This does make me look back and wonder where i may have mistakenly treated wrong as right and right as wrong (even by just implication).

    David didn't really deal with Amnon the way he should have. I notice that the passive, incomplete way he dealt with Amnon (who raped his sister Tamar) compares to how too many churches treat infidelity where adulterers are popped on the wrist at discovery and applauded beyond encouragement that is needed. (Encouragement within balance is definitely needed for a former wayward as for anybody else being reconciled in the faith.) And at the same time, betrayed spouses are shamed into isolation and/or silence in order to not find themselves accused of being unforgiving, or labeled with the man-made term "jezebelic", or labeled as being jealous. It's a very unfair position to be in. And the injustice doesn't stop with the affair. It can be an ongoing experience by the ignorance within people's words.

    But for many pastors who do treat adultery with such insensitivity, I honestly don't think we can accuse them of any more wrong than we could accuse David. As passive as he was with Amnon (as there is no record of any public retribution not even open apology and open rebuke. Only exile), David was still a man after God's own heart. I see that my pastor and many others are too. They're just human. I think what can protect wounded betrayeds from such human flaw is to have helpers willing to comfort and minister to them with a humble approach, as you said.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  12. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    We certainly can accuse David of much wrong, regardless of his salvation. His lack of justice for Tamar reflects a shameful moment of his legacy.

    I don't think we should give someone allowances just because they are perpetrating the same violence that a Bible hero did. For example, I don't think we have to pull our punches when condemning a man who sleeps with another man's wife and then arranges a hit to kill the other man.

    Even if David, a man after God's own heart, did such a thing with few immediate consequences, a person who does that today should confess to murder and face the resulting consequences which I hope minimally would involve being deposed from a throne.

    I think we have to be careful to separate observation/lessons learned and emulation.

    Thoughts?
     
  13. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    Actually i think both spouses should be pursued by full ministry. My pastor promotes me being ministered to by another married woman in ministry. Works out beautifully. I have a new friend in her. But i believe that making insensitive comments that open wounds for the betrayed while going easy on the wayward is a discipleship problem. Jesus instructed His disciples and held back no truth from them whether truth hurt for a moment or not. And the disciples discipled others the same way as we see unsugar coated epistles. But are we so discipled nowadays to the point where we can endure sound doctrine and make an impact on how Christians treat adultery?

    If a woman is controlling, she is harshly dealt with in some churches and is falsely accused of having a jezebel spirit. So then, why do we rarely see cheaters being dealt with for the lust spirits they embrace?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  14. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    Many of us wouldn't even have to get involved any more than in prayer if there were more people like Nathan, the prophet who confronted David, among us. (Jesus not only set us free from condemning others, but also gave us instructions in His Word on how to implement firm, stern solutions and accountability.) And any people like Nathan could act corporately against sin in the church without being like Pharisees, who threw stones. But a lot of people are so worried about being "judgmental" unless they're following the trends of accusing people for being controlling (because "controlling" basically makes everybody uncomfortable, not just one person or family). Also, there are people like me who have been tempted to think like Absolom. Really really angry about the injustice and battle with hatred (while Jesus tells us to love our enemies). Thankfully to the Lord, I'm set free from hatred. But it doesn't mean I don't battle with it.

    I agree. Sin to that degree should be dealt with further through laws of the land. But again, in our churches are we as the Christ's Body doing what we're supposed to do to help establish accountability and address actions that impact everybody? Adultery is contagious in a way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  15. DZoolander

    DZoolander Regular Member

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    I think Endeavourer summed it up nicely in that post.

    I don't really look for support from people, and because of those reasons I don't think people are able to give meaningful support especially if it involves two or more individuals. People pick a side and have an agenda on who to support and how to provide it with that agenda in mind. It's the agenda that dominates what happens next - not any meaningful reflection on the actual situation. People can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

    You're angry? "What purpose does that anger serve? Will it drive you away from the spouse? Can't have that. Dismiss your anger lest you may end up divorced", etc etc etc. The only thing that matters is preserving the marriage, even if it's only on a superficial level.

    And if you're not on board with that, then the greater sin is yours. After all, the person who actually did the betraying is willing to stick around.
     
  16. HannahT

    HannahT Newbie Supporter

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    Yes, that is the part I have a really hard time wrapping my head around. I have often wondered if it was based in fear. Remember the push that marriage is the bedrock, and if they can't find a way to get that relationship back on track? They might be exposing themselves to cracks, and not wanting to look at our true human side. I mean they are there for the spiritual part only.

    Sadly, they become enablers. Shaming a couple to come back together is superficial - and they didn't help anything of true substance. They basically put lipstick on pig as the saying goes. They are afraid to deal with the true issues, and true core of things. Their spiritual pixie dust is sprinkled around - now get with the program.

    It's almost as if they aren't dong their job - and that reflects on them - if they deal with any of the true human aspects. It's ugly parts, and struggle along with people in those times. They are suppose to have all the answers, and you are suppose to go with it. They almost make the problem WORSE, and in some cases actually do. Then you never see the self reflection.

    Do I think they have good intentions? Sure. Yet, they do have problems looking inward.

    I saw this dynamic once I was an adult. We had just lost my grandfather, and placed my grandmother in a nursing home. I can't remember clearly what spurred the start of the conversation, but it was then I learned that my mom grew up with domestic violence. How the church enabled this behavior, and did everything they could to keep the relationship in tact. My grandfather was in leadership, and submission was used as a weapon. I never forget her uttering the words, "He used to hit mother, and he used to hit me too". Yes, they kept that relationship together. Yet, they never looked to see the damage it caused my mother - since they don't seem to be concerned with the spouses involved either. Mother had trouble being emotionally involved or connected on any level. She struggled and tried, and you could see it. When you read about the effects of this on children? It made sense. This had grave effects on the rest of her life.

    The church got their trophy of keeping the family in tact, but they didn't have to live with the after effects. It cost a young child her sense of safety and security, but they did have their picturesque relationship that lasted over 60 years (my grandparents).

    Honestly? I think this rinse and repeat approach is used with many martial issues. They are more concerned with the image it seems than the people. I just never understood that.
     
  17. DZoolander

    DZoolander Regular Member

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    Because focusing on the people might lead to the conclusion that "These people have no business being together."

    ...and can't have that.
     
  18. Dave-W

    Dave-W Our six grandchildren Supporter

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    -OR- it might just tell them that this approach really does not work.
    And they can't have that either.

    IMO that applies to many more areas of life than just infidelity or domestic abuse.
     
  19. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    My goodness! The way you worded this is what I've been seeing and haven't been able to articulate. I guess I've felt too guilty. I don't know. Just the way you've described the process has been my experience in a nutshell. :expressionless:
     
  20. unfinishedclay

    unfinishedclay Newbie

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    I don't know if you mean leadership approach to marital problems. More and more my nagging concern is becoming this: Too many comments about marriage that are made in the pulpits and in counseling sessions have given the false message that adultery isn't so bad that it should be looked at as something any worse than the fleshly reaction to it. At least, this is the message I've been getting. And I certainly believe this is the message cheaters (and abusers, as Hannah pointed out) are getting and as a result, smugly make themselves scrutinize the behavior of the betrayeds in the aftermath of their actions.

    I just don't get it. I don't get the "so what?" attitude or the spiritual turned up nose toward mention of the problem. Example: posts 2 and 3
     
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