Rebuilding Trust, Part 1
…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ
Lying always accompanies sexual sin. If the deceit is not overt (“No Honey, I haven’t looked at porn for a long time.”), it is covert—pretending to be something we’re not. As the bondage to lust increases, so do the lies. Once the mask comes off and others, especially those closest to us, who get hurt the most, discover that we’ve been deceiving them, all faith in our character collapses. Relationships are built on trust. The risk of getting hurt, betrayed, or let down again can be too great for the offended one to try and stay in the relationship.
When the truth comes out and a marriage is crushed under the weight of adultery, either with porn or another woman, a wife’s anger at the lies can be as great as the pain caused by the sexual sin. This is why the most critical component of rebuilding the foundation of a marriage is often to stop all lying, hiding, or cheating. If she can’t trust you to tell the truth, it will be extremely difficult for her to open her heart again and love.
In addition, God commands those of us who are Christians to be men of truth. Lying about Sarah’s relationship got Abraham in trouble multiple times (Genesis 20), to the point where he could have lost his wife. Being a man of integrity isn’t an option for those who want to serve Christ; it’s a must.
In the early stages of rebuilding trust, revealing the whole truth to your wife can seem like stepping into a hornet’s nest. She may ask questions you don’t want to answer, and when you do, her responses might make it feel like you’re getting beat up for “doing the right thing.” (Of course, if there had been no adultery in the first place this wouldn’t have been needed.) As you answer her questions, do so truthfully, but in love. Don’t be defensive when she expresses her hurt, anger, or disappointment. Although the process can be rough, speaking the truth in love is the first step back to her heart. You want her to express her pain and anger. If she doesn’t, there is a danger she might suppress her feelings and harden her heart. Your marriage can’t recover if your wife doesn’t heal.
There is freedom in the truth. What a relief it is to cease from hiding sin, faking the Christian walk, and trying to cover our tracks. We no longer need to pretend we’re “the good Christian,” which we could never be. Our wives may never see us as a “knight in shining armor” again, but hopefully they will see us as we are: broken and in desperate need of God’s grace—and their forgiveness.
In the end, speaking the truth in love involves making a determined choice of humility over pride. It is this choice that opens the door to the grace we so desperately need.
And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5
Excerpted from Mike Genung’s book, 100 Days on The Road to Grace, A Devotional for the Sexually Broken
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