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How Should the Church Handle Adultery?

God’s mercy provides a way out…do we?
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The Way Out

I know many passages in the Bible speak on adultery and those who commit adultery. And I believe them. What we as the church have failed to do is point sinners to the cross, where they can find help and healing. Directing people to Jesus was the way then, and it's certainly the way now. If we direct people to Jesus, condemnation is crippled and lives are restored. It is our job as the church to be the eyes, ears, mouth, and feet of Jesus. We cannot do this if we are unfamiliar with his methods. We must do a couple of things if we are going to help restore those caught in the act of adultery.

First, we must show them there is a way out and it begins with the mercy of God. We must show love, the kind of love that covers a multitude of faults (1 Peter 4:8). Our love must give them room to make mistakes, and we must extend grace and receive them. We must show compassion. Compassion that is laced with sympathy for the pain the adulterer feels and the pain the spouse feels, even compassion for the partner in adultery. It can be hard, but it must be done.

As the body of Christ, we must extend forgiveness; it is in this atmosphere where Jesus found us. We must show mercy. If Jesus did not condemn, we must follow his example, especially when a person has committed to sin no more. Finally, we must present the offending party opportunities for restoration. Opportunities for restoration include high levels of accountability, prayer support, and continued encouragement as all parties struggle to rebuild their lives.

Sin has always mattered to God, but creation matters much more. God sent Jesus to give the adulterer a merciful way out.

Domeniek L. Harris is a writer, speaker, professional educator, women's ministry leader, Bible study teacher, and founder of By His Side Ministries, a multicultural, inter-denominational, and international ministry for ministry wives. She is a co-laborer in pastoral ministry, and pastor's wife at Dominion Living Ministries in Memphis, Tennessee.

November21, 2013 at 8:15 AM

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