Every priest or minister or monk or nun or spiritual guide of any kind has heard it before: does God forgive adultery?
In a word, yes.
There is ample traditional biblical support for that proposition. Consider, for example, Micah 7:18-19:
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Notice that you don’t see anything there that qualifies the sin itself – he passeth some transgressions but not others. It’s a wholly merciful and loving God, ever ready to see us whole and forgive us the whole range of errors that we believe have befallen us – and this includes cheating on our husband, or cheating on our wife.
Want some support from the Gospel Jesus? Take a look at Matthew 5:44-45:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who spitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Again, we’re talking about a God that is merciful and offers his mercy to everyone, without judgement or qualification. We can place our faith in this God and we will not be left bereft – no matter what we have, or think we have done!
Am I saying that if you’ve cheated, then bully for you, God won’t care? I’m not. Even though A Course in Miracles (my own spiritual path) proclaims that “sin” is not real – that all our errors are but illusions – there is still the fact that we believe we are here. If someone is punching you in the face, then by all means you should walk away, not just stand there and take it while saying, “this is all but a dream within a dream.”
You aren’t supposed to be unhappy – you are supposed to be joyful. But part of that joy – part of that happiness – is found in loving others in the way that Christ loves us. So we have to ask what purpose our infidelity serves and we have to ask if it reflects the deepest love and kindness that we can offer. If it doesn’t, then we need to shift our thinking towards love and allow its behavioral expression to follow suit.
When we come from that place of conviction – that decision to be loving now - then we are going to know the forgiveness of Christ. And we are going to know that we are forgiven.
Any error in A Course in Miracles, be it murder or cheating or a burned cheese cake, is nothing more than a cry for help – and because we perceive it outside of ourselves (the cheating spouse, the distant spouse who “drives” us to adultery) – it is always our cry. If you are betraying someone because they aren’t satisfactorily caring for your needs, don’t get all self-righteous about it. That’s you! You’re the one that’s not tending to another’s need. And the flip side of the coin holds as well. Are you trying to “forgive” a partner who has committed adultery? Don’t separate your self from her or him. It’s you.
We are always forgiving ourselves.
ACIM forgiveness can drive you batty, but it’s not about seeing the so-called sin and thus making it real. You know, telling someone that they acted like an idiot but you forgive them because you’re so Christian. You don’t see the idiotic behavior – all you see is the perfect child of God beyond. We’re talking about spiritual sight, not physical sight.
Are we supposed to stay in a bad marriage? No. Put up with all kinds of emotional grief or even abuse? No. True forgiveness does not mean that behavior in the world won’t change. It can and does. There is a transition from a bad dream to a happy dream – one of joy, peace and love. For that to happen, we need to forgive – which is to say, we need to learn how to see past the error to the perfection, to bring our shortcomings (our fears, our exaggerated needs, our angers, all of it) to the Holy Spirit or Jesus and ask them to help us forgive it.
But if we do leave – if we do move on – it’s not out of anger or a desire to avenge ourselves. It’s done in a forgiving way, which is a loving way.
So yes. God forgives adultery. But are you ready to forgive? Are you ready to be the loving Child of God that you are in truth?