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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Marriage & Forgiveness: What That Means For The "Other Woman" (or Man)


1 Cor. 6:18 ~ "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body."(NIV 2011)
I have previously written a post on the biblical position and basis for divorce and remarriage. In that post I specifically dealt with the biblical instructions regarding the institution of marriage and the permissibility of both divorce and remarriage under certain circumstances. While divorce is only a last option when all other forms of reconciliation have failed it is a reality for many and a path that some have had to cross.

I will primarily address how Christians should best respond to the "third party" or the character involved in marital infidelity. This person is usually called "the other woman", and in a growing number of cases it is called "the other man" who now becomes and is the "third party". In some cases it is a whole or complete institution, such as a strip club or some other form of entertainment. I will not deal with the latter in this article.

Although there are many reasons for failed relationships, this article will focus on only one of those reasons and reaction to those normally held responsible in many cases for a failed marriage. In order to get to the topic, we will have to discuss marital infidelity. This is often a subject of much distress within the church because many studies assert that the divorce rate among professing Christians runs parallel to that of non Christians roughly at a 50 % rate.

How should the church respond to this "third party"? How should the innocent spouse respond to the one who has helped to bring pain into the marriage? Certainly we must admit that the "third party" may not be totally to blame for  breakdown of the marriage, but they have contributed to it by being an available presence. What are the realizations that must be made to address and deal with all of this?

Let's begin what promises to be one of my most controversial postings ever.  

First, The Truth On Relationships & Infidelity

While many internet venues claim that cheating is occurring in almost all relationships and marriages the fact is  that things are not quite as bad as what media hype has led us to believe.  According to a 2011 Psychology Today report, infidelity among married individuals has not significantly increased in over 20 years. In fact, the current trend is that couples in committed relationships are being more faithful to their spouses and companions. With that said, according to a University Of Virginia study, still 22% of ever married men and 14% of ever married women admit to having been unfaithful within their marriage.

According to the book, "The Normal Bar" [ Northrup, Schwartz, Witte; 2012 Crown Publishing Group] the numbers were slightly higher. The authors stated that in their research 33% of men and 19% of women admitted to being unfaithful (in this poll there was no mention of a distinction between married individuals or single individuals in relationships which could account for the difference) In that same poll 17% of women and 23% of men said that the infidelity had only occurred once. 

Christian family and biblical moral advocacy group Focus On The Family states that while nearly 80% of individuals view adultery as always being wrong, nearly 33% or men and 25% of woman have had affairs, and that rates could be as high as nearly 50% for both men and women when cyber and internet inspired and "emotional affairs" are mixed in the number. 
In response to all of this there has been new industry created simply to support the rigors of infidelity. There are now attorneys who exclusively engage in the practice of divorce. There are now marriage and relationship councilors and other professionals who's exclusive mission is serving those who have walked through the door of broken relationships.    

In Person Or Over The Internet, Once Is More Than Enough

Heb. 13:4 ~ "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all
the sexually immoral."
 (NIV 2011)

Infidelity is infidelity one time or 500 times. I believe it was basketball star and legend Wilt Chamberlain that
claimed that he had sex with over 20,000 woman during his NBA career and that most players during his day engaged quite regularly in affairs no matter if they were married or not. Some players have even stated that the "temptations" are too great and if one isn't grounded, they will succumb to the pressure. To bind one's self into this sort of activity is not fun at all, it is a moral and self control failure of epic proportions.

What all of the prior statistics show is that relationships and marriages are being and can be challenged. As noted by the enormous increase in Christian books and publications on the subject, many of the same challenges of marital infidelity exist for those of us in Christ and within the church. In other words, being in the church, and even knowing the moral value truth of faithfulness and monogamy, and biblical instructions on the institution of marriage itself, does not assure that one will be steadfast and faithful to their marital commitments.

Infidelity reaches across all economic boarders and boundaries. It reaches across all mental capacities and physical attributes. As long as minds and hearts can connect, as long as commitment takes second place to flesh and self-will, there remains the potential for infidelity.

Restoration & Forgiveness Among Christians

Between Spouses

The beautiful thing about failure is that there can be restoration and reconciliation. Among Christians, reconciliation of the marriage is always the first stop and all efforts should be made towards reconciliation even in the case of infidelity. Some will argue that restoration is not required due to adultery. That is true. However freedom to move on does not insure expedience to such action. What of the children, witness to the community and other believers? How will the relationship to God suffer as a result? There are many considerations to make in light of the contemplation of divorce.  

In essence, marriage is a relationship representative of Christ and his commitment toward the church and HIS people. He is always faithful no matter how unfaithful that we become. Our individual marriages should be an example of that faithfulness and that enduring commitment. 

There must be forgiveness in order for any relationship to last and be enduring. One cannot micromanage all pains and hurts all the time. There must be some letting go in order to go on. However, there is a responsibility of repentance and turning placed upon the offender. 

Forgiveness For & Of For The "Third Party"

This is the essence and the focus of this article. For the duration I will present and set forth what I believe is a biblical polemic on this issue.

Genesis 21: 9-14 ~ "9-And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10-Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11-And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 12-And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13-And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. 14-And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

One would hardly think that one could look to the Old Testament for a polemic on how one should handle a modern or NT marital problem. After all polygamy was allowed (not endorsed) by God in the OT and there were some strange practices and customs which we are yet coming into knowledge of through various archaeological finds. 

However, for a view of what and how God thinks of marriage and the protection of HIS promise through and by marriage, we can look to the semi-conclusion of the relationship between Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.  This story gives us some insights into a wife's power of petition towards God, God's expectation of a husband seeking the restoration and stability of his family, and the position that the "third party" is in whether there has been repentance or not. 

Although the details of how Abraham got into this situation actually stem from Sarah's request, that can't be overshadowed by the ethic or moral value that God sets forth that marriage is the primary and most important institution. Hagar became a "third party" even if reluctantly initially  (read Genesis 16) Evidently Hagar came to enjoy the position, power, and influence that she was able to exude over Abraham at some point and she did so even involving her son in criticizing Sarah's son Isaac. When this happened, that was the last straw for Sarah. It was then that she petitioned God for a change and changes were made even though Abraham didn't necessarily want to hear any of it.

"Cast Out The Bondwoman And Her Son" 

Sarah's request was plain. Because of how Hagar had responded to her, and how Ishmael had began to respond to Isaac (Gen. 21:9) she demanded that Hagar and Ishmael leave. Modern moral relativists of course assert that Sarah had no right to make such a request. However, they only acknowledge part of the story in making that judgement. The story begins with the instruction in Genesis 2:24 which solidifies the context of marriage. That a man was to cleave unto his "wife" and they two" shall become "one flesh". You see no matter how Hagar was in the position of being the mother of one of Abraham's sons, or no matter what else they shared, SHE was NOT his wife! She had no power, authority and was not given control or honor by God to oversee or antagonize the marriage or the parties of the marriage. (Sarah in particularly) 

To restate, even with a child by the man of the house, as a "third party" Hagar was not in the position of power. She had to GO!


To The Heart Of The Matter
What should be known is that the "third party" to marriage has no power or right of demand within the marriage of another. This does not mean that this person is insignificant, In Hagar's case, God displayed and was faithful to his promise to provide for Hagar and Ishmael. Only that provision would not be in Abraham's or Sarah's presence. God honored the marriage over any other relationship. 

Is There Or Can There Be Forgiveness?
Obviously there is forgiveness for every indiscretion known among men, however, there are some conditions for forgiveness to occur. First there must be repentance. In this POST, I have outlined the types of forgiveness that the bible calls for the believer to extend. Where there is no repentance, one cannot intrude upon a person's freewill to offer something that they don't themselves want. So, first, one has to repent. 

What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

Although this is probably the most difficult part of marital infidelity, one must know that when these lines have been crossed, a clear moral value and biblical ethic must be embraced and there must be priorities set forth. Forgiveness places the family, especially the innocent spouse, and the marriage first. All things and all persons "forgiven" revolve around that institution because that institution is ordained of God. More on this as we go:  

The Restoration Of The Marriage & Family Must Be The First & Primary Concern.
All things that happen in the restoration of marriage must occur to the benefit of the marital and family institution. In other words, these things are the priority and steps taken to heal them should be without compromise. This takes priority over the well being of the "third party" and all others on the outside of the marriage. One of the most offensive things in healing a marriage is for the offending spouse to consider the 'well being" of the "third party" as if there must be a commitment equal to or above the commitment to the faithfulness of God's word and family. However, this is just what we see over and over as couples try to heal and restore their relationships. 

All Parties Must Experience A Period Of Healing And Restoration.
Although there is life for all after infidelity (at least in most cases) there must be a focus on individual restoration. The innocent spouse must be lifted during this time and ministered to in a biblically supportive manner. The offending spouse must evaluate and know what led them into their sins and take the proper steps to assure that those sins aren't reduplicated. The "third party" must takes steps to make sure that what was allowed does not become a lifestyle or a cheap way to gain attention, and that the things that led them to be a party to a marital relationship aren't reproduced. (and that is for one that seriously wants to be saved and acknowledges their wrongdoing, some folk simply are charlatans, whores and whoremongers, all categories of persons to whom, this post doesn't apply) So strong biblical council and prayer is a mandate for all persons involved. On top of this the children and community of faith must be under-girded with truth, strength and clear, honest and open instruction. 

Can Or Should A Family And The "Third Party" Exist In The Same Church? 

Believe me, I have seen it all. Saints trying and attempting to shout over all the defilement of sin sitting right in the midst of the congregation as if nothing is wrong. These things are a shame before God and leaders who have sold out or participated in this sort of confusion will themselves pay the ultimate price as well.

The answer to the question: ABSOLUTELY NOT! Certainly not when the occurrence of infidelity is still fresh. Although, in church, we seem to do this "psycho-spiritual jump rope", equating acceptance of the offender(s) to the "love of God" and attitudes of love and compassion,  I venture to say that God is not interested in nor pleased with such weird displays of affection. To the church's shame, in many cases the "third party" to a marriage has been allowed to fellowship and continue relationship in the presence of the family that has suffered the offense. There have been babies flaunted in front of congregations in effort to make the offending individual take "responsibility" while at the same time putting the spouse to open shame again. This is an ungodly approach to handling and addressing the issue and God is certainly not pleased. 

Just as Ishmael could not abide with Issac, one's sins of adultery and the results of adultery cannot exist or abide with one's commitment to do right. Ishmael was a young and impressionable man that needed a father too, but God's design and intent of marriage was even greater than Ishmael's needs. 

A spouse suffering and a family trying to piece their lives and marriage back together after infidelity should NOT be further pained by having to prove their "love and capacity to forgive" by accepting the "third party" in their presence simply because that third party wants to be a part of the church. Forgiveness does not mean to become a doormat for anyone. There is a church on almost every corner. The "third party" is always best advised to take their membership to a place where they can heal outside and away from the family to which they have been an offense. The simple truth is that if one does not want to leave their church, one should not be a party to sin. In some cases a family may have to attend another church, that would also be an acceptable and advised solution to the problem and situation.   

Lk. 17:1 ~ Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

What Of Internet & Phone Relationships?


Many internet and phone relationships are emotional in nature and are in essence even more powerful than physical relationships. In some cases there is no ultimate physical fulfillment, but there can be fulfillment emotionally. Strong emotional attachments can be developed over venues like Where Black People Meet, Facebook, and Twitter. Over the internet, because there is all kinds of video conferencing available, there are a host of cybersexual activity which occurs regularly between individuals. Many times these connections are adulterous liaisons which carry all the illusion of actual physical sexual activity. In any case, sexually orientated and emotionally binding relationships outside of the context of marriage are all destructive. 

When lines of decency have been crossed, the best thing to do to heal all parties, is to remove, delete and update friend's lists, emails, cellular phone numbers and all. Just because individuals haven't touched physically, doesn't mean that they can heal any more quickly from their infidelity. The same path of restoration must be made to overcome these things and to keep them from reoccurring in a person's life to the destruction and obstruction of the family and marriage. 

Conclusion

The path of infidelity is filled with non-intent. Many individual's don't "intend" for relationships to occur, but the trick of the enemy allows these things to happen to willing participants seeking one thing or another in return for some form of sexual gratification. The internet can be a place and an opportunity where good intentions fail in the face of a strong emotional, psychological, and even sexual connection. 

Those that would heal their marriage are commended, for this is the path that God wants marriage to go. However, God also wants marriages to be fully healed and restored. That healing and restoration must be done with a full focus on the relationship. Anything less is certainly less than what Christ has intended. 

In a day where we have preachers and gospel singers playing out their indiscretions on stage and in the public eye, we must be taught how to heal and get the victory over these situations and occurrences. We must sound the alarm that a man with 2 to 3 ex wives in the same church, all of which he has left due to infidelity is NOT God's design and the people of God have no business being subject to that confusion.

The 'third party" has no right to flaunt the results of her sins in front of the church in effort to gain a place within its context. These acts are condemned and do not lead to the psychological and spiritual health of the child and or church. These are pitiful excuses for "love and compassion" and clearly only display ineptness in dealing with the issues. These sort of reactions to the sin of infidelity only display the lack of wisdom in the modern church and the desire for "relevance" among the world. these things, if not handled properly, lead to strife among the church.

James 3:13-18 13-Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14-But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15-This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16-For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17-But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18-And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.  

The other woman or man can certainly be forgiven. One sign of true repentance could be the willingness of restoration, in whatever form that takes. The offender within the marriage has a first obligation to his/her marriage, and also an obligation to the church and community. There is no telling how long this restoration will take or what one will give up in the process. Yes, there is a trade and a wage of sin. 

I write this article to not only heal those who have suffered, but to encourage those considering adultery or considering becoming a "third party"...DON'T DO IT! You will never be able to afford the ultimate price of your sin. 

Blessed!            

18 comments:

  1. Received an interesting perspective on this today. One asked so far as the "third party" was concerned, how can a person go through restoration when they weren't saved to get into that situation to begin with?

    Obviously somebody lost all their values, or at the very least set them down in order to become unfaithful, so going down that road is interesting to say the least.

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  2. See some folk act as if they don;t know what I'm talking about in this article...OK, let me be more specific...

    Man goes outside the marriage and father's a child...the other woman bring her child to them and says, "here, help raise your child", then proceeds to join the church of the couple. OK, the church accepts the new member and claims that the family (wife) must learn to forgive....

    Anything wrong with that picture? I think so...

    Unfortunately, because of sin, this man may never raise his child. He is not under ANY obligation to care for or keep the child. He may certainly be under the state financial obligation to pay child support and basic needs etc, but he is not under a moral obligation IF that obligation infringes on his marriage. Now, I know we talk about the child not having a father and the damage that will be done etc...however, sin has a wage and the marriage and the legitimate children's welfare and well-being is above the illegitimate child for sure.

    Secondly, the church's commitment should be to the innocent spouse and not the one that allowed and facilitated marital interference. Fact is that the woman and the child can be saved "anywhere", just NOT at that church. Actions to integrate are antagonistic at best.

    Tired of these churches and pastors embracing the sin because they feel and obligation to the one who defiled the marriage. I know she didn't do it by herself and that the offending party(in this case the man) is equally if not more responsible, but two wrongs don't make a right.

    The blessing and the curse cannot exist at the same time...one must be healed first.

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  3. Tough topic, and I agree with your synopsis of who is going to get the short end of the stick. Its one of those tough points of faith like a good God sending people to Hell. Justice is Justice. Some people think, especially men because they have a child out of wedlock the child comes first when they do eventually marry and run circles around the spouse. But then we fuss at a woman who puts her hasband first after being a single mother for a spell. But no, you have to show the child and future children through your marital relationship what God ordained for a family, if they are doing it right.
    But, I still won't consider dating a man with kid(s) ...
    Plus Hagar can not be managed, she wants her child to have what the wife's kids have - I mean she wants the wife's place anyway, she shows out when child support is late and at the courthouse as soon as you get a raise, he don't bring the kids back after the weekend cause they call the husband "daddy", she is running the wife down to everyone she knows, side eyeing her at convocation ... list goes on.

    In a book (I read a lot) where this issue was a story line the wives, one didn't acknowledge her pastor husband had a wandering eye let alone a child, she preferred to remain oblivious. Another old church mother felt guilt for telling her late husband after his one indiscretion when they were young - repent, but don't acknowledge this child or situation - cause she was barren and it hurt. The author felt these families were missing out on these great kids, the Hagar's weren't really dealt with. And in the church mothers situation the grand kids were raised with some bitterness about the situation. Wages of sin...
    God provided for Hagar and Ishmael, so as you said they can be saved anywhere else, but if its not the same congregation, extended families are often insensitive to the situation, cause Big Mama wants to see her first grandson at Christmas too, and since Hagar can't afford to fly home she can stay for dinner as well.

    A woman I grew up with has 2 kids by a married man and she went to his house to confront his wife who was pregnant at the same time and lived across the street from my cousin. My cousin and "Hagar's" brother watched from his driveway. Why was her brother there? To back his sister up when she goes nuts on another woman's property? With these stand your ground laws, all I could think was the wife just had to instigate that hot head to step over her threshold and a bullet wizzing past her ear lobe would get her mind right.


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    1. LaPreghiera,

      Sorry for the later response but WOW!!!! Now that is some action going on...I think one of the things that is missed is the nature of the marital relationship. Certainly it is important, but in context, it can't exclude obligation to children etc. So I think in correcting an issue, one can't create another issue and claim exemption, BUT that is notwithstanding the circumstance.

      Example: If I, as a married man, produce a child outside of my marriage, (and by some chance my marriage survives that) the child is certainly in a secondary position as it pertains to all issues that run along side my marriage. However, if before marriage I have a child and then marry, that child is in a different position and relationship within context of my marriage. At that point, any woman marrying me (because I already have a child) knows that I have "luggage" coming through the door, and because that did not violate the marriage, there should be adequate provision made for the child, but NOT the child's mother.

      What we fail to do is accurately "judge" and assess the situation and either treat all situations the same or don't make any distinctions at all.

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  4. Great article Pastor@ I've never looked at the story of Abraham/Sarah/Hagar like that before...very PROFOUND! I think you hit the marriage infidelity nail on the head with this article!

    Godlysoldier

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    1. Thanks Godlysoldier and I appreciate you. Long time no see. It is a controversial subject and one that has some implications on all sides of the issues.

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  5. I'm also going to write on the topic of the Mother-In Law (husband's mom) and how to keep her from becoming "the other woman"...Rule of thumb...keep Mother-in-Law OUT of your business, even if that means suffering through something that she can solve...Remember, the marriage is a Covenant and not merely a relationship between individuals. It is the primary covenant and it shouldn't be broken even by "in laws" that think that they know something or are due some type of "respect". The man was the Leave momma and Cleave to his wife (Genesis 2)....I think I'm gonna roll with that one.

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  6. Supt. Burnett,

    Good article!

    I don't know if I can agree with you. I think Hagar and Ishmael were treated so poorly not because Hagar was the "Third Party" but she was a slave.

    What about Hanna and her situation? What about Rachael and Leia? It sounds like you are giving the "guy" a pass, and telling the Third Party to disappear and take THEIR BABY with them. I will agree that there are consequences to sin, and may I add that the Man should be held accountable for his part. You can't hide behind the very thing you violated. Marriage is not to be used as a cover up or a scape goat when someone gets caught.

    Just my two cents.

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    1. 2 Cents,

      Thanks and I appreciate the commentary. I deal with the basis of your disagreement in the article but maybe not satisfactorily as you would like. I will say that first, the marriage between Abraham and Sarah was a covenant relationship. He did not have a "covenant" with Hagar, however, that aside, the reason that Hagar was moved was because she mocked the promise of God and was an antagonist to Sarah and allowed if not encouraged her son to engage in the same set of misdeeds. When this grieved Sarah, the one with whom there was a covenant relationship, she had to go.

      Sorry, but that simply sounds righteous to me. God stood with those to whom he had a covenant agreement. At the same time he promised to provide for Hagar and Ishmael, which he did. Nevertheless, neither the PROMISE nor divine order were mocked.

      Hannah, received her blessing which she gave to God (Samuel) It seems that whatever jealously that Penninah had, she left off after god showed up. So the story is vastly different. Rachel and Leah is also different. Jacob having received the promise understood that the earth would be blessed through his seed. However, although Leah was "hated" or disfavored, she yet had 4 children and did not mock any of the children that Rachel had. So there really isn't a comparison or specific parallel in either of those two stories.

      To the heart of what you assert however...that the man is held accountable "for his sins". That is not in question, but Abraham, did not sin. Neither did Jacob, nor did Hannah's husband. So there was no getting "caught" in sins in this verse or the verses you mentioned.

      I believe the point you are getting to is seeking to find out what obligation does the person who has fathered a child out of wedlock have?

      Fact is this...plain and simple...the ONLY obligation that a married man and or a woman has is to their MARRIAGE. Sounds insensitive to the kid right? No, and I'll tell you why...

      Any woman, excluding one who was raped, had power over her body to keep a seed from entering her body. If SHE or HE has by virtue of defiling themselves to defile the marital bed which not only dishonors God but also their own bodies, the only way that can be repaired is through repentance. repentance for marital infidelity places the marriage itself at the top. NOT the child, though innocent, as the focus of the breech.

      Modern understanding is that the kids or the product of sex is first. That's not the concept of God however, and that is not how the marriage and or relationship is fixed or righted.

      The covenant relationship remains higher than any other....Now, I know that stirs the pot, but I'm able to stir quite handily. LOL!!!

      Blessed!

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    2. Awww, Supt. Burnett,

      How can you even say such things, It is that kind of rhetoric, that has Males, thinking
      that, they can have their cake and eat it too.

      To say it's a woman's sole responsibility to keep from getting pregnant REALLY?? and if
      she "foolishly and irresponsibly" does let me guest abort or deal with it by
      herself ? You can't be serious.

      Once a person have slept with someone other than their spouse, it's a wrap. You have no
      more covenant relationship; so therefore he has just as much responsibility to that child
      as the other. I know it's a hard pill to swallow for some men handle but they are going
      to have to come all the way clean if total healing is going to take place. You don't get
      to pick your consequences, just the sin. How can a person expect another to have more
      respect for their vows then they do?

      The bible tells us to honor our Mothers and Fathers so that our days will be longer. How
      is that supposed to happen in that situation? The bible also tells Fathers to teach
      their children the way, how is that supposed to happen?

      2 Cents

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    3. 2 Cents,

      In no way am I exonerating men for any penalty or responsibility. A man fathers a child out of wedlock he suffers one way or another. If he is prohibited from seeing the child and being his father that is a penalty. Then having to pay support would also be a penalty, but what are we talking about? The many penalties that a man who has a child out of wedlock should experience, or how God views the situation and what he honors and dishonors? We can't meld all things into one ethic because it is not one ethic. There are many different components, and a lot of things that appear right to us in our humanism, is not right, sound or blessed of God.

      It seems, that you are under the impression that the covenant, once broken, doesn't exist or is no longer valid. GLAD you're not God with an interpretation of covenant like that.

      The marital covenant YET exists regardless of violation. It is an until death type thing with "no man" putting asunder. Yes, there are valid reasons under which the covenant can be dissolved, but no covenant is automatically dissolved because of anything. In the case of infidelity, many people overcome that even though it is a biblically defensible reason to dissolve the covenant.

      It YET remains the highest relationship that God honors whether anyone likes that or not. A third party or a person by whom a bastard child is had in disgrace is NOT in a position to call any shots in a biblical context. certainly they can and should go to law and seek due process, but to expect that God bless that situation in any way is more than what God has said that he will do.

      God does not honor unrighteousness. The child can be blessed and God just may have to be his or her father because of the sin. One thing is for sure, God will NOT honor a child born outside of the marriage while a marriage was in place, or the woman through whom the child came, to supersede anything that is going on in the marriage if the commitment of the marriage has been to work through it...Doesn't happen and God does not honor things to the contrary.

      Finally, as I said, the woman has control over her body meaning that she can either spread her legs or keep them closed. Yes, the man should have self control and is no less responsible for what happens as well, but there is a greater thought as the woman is the first to experience a baby. She is just as guilty or even more so in some circumstances, especially when she did not have to engage in the activity that she ultimately knows that she will be stuck with. He may be stuck too, but you know as well as I do, often times that's not the case.

      Delete
    4. Really? You used Bastard, which is a term for children whose father doesn't
      acknowledge them, regardless of if they were born in or out of wedlock.

      Speaking to the issue of lil bastards, David and Bathsheba had Solomon who became the
      next king, look at the circumstances that he was born up under. Even Abraham prayed and
      asked God to bless Ishmael, I'm not buying into this one is better than the other or
      throw this one back in a corner somewhere and let the lord be their daddy.

      A marital covenant doesn't exist once it has been broken, through ADULTARY, hence the
      purpose for/instruction to divorce regardless of how painful or costly the process may
      be. If God doesn't honor unrighteousness, which adultery is, he doesn't honor that
      tainted marriage. (so have a seat at the second class citizen table right along with the
      illegitimate babies)

      Just a little info for you, a Woman's first experience with pregnancy is conception which
      happens AFTER a man has deposited his sperm. So to keep ones legs closed isn't what
      causes all the ruckus, spraying babies everywhere is. The solution would be for a man to
      keep his body fluids to his self and then he won't have THAT problem.

      I'm GLAD you ain't God with this cave-man theology your pushing.

      2 Cents

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    5. Really??? The BIBLE used the term "bastard" as well to speak of those who are without the correction of God. In fact here it is:

      Hebrews 12:8~But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards,and not sons.

      What is that? A "fatherless" child. Who does that to them and who is to blame? Not the child. The PARENTS are to blame. The woman is as much to blame as the man for the creation of a BASTARD child. We are not talking about being violated, raped or taken advantage of. We are talking about grown folk laying down and creating a situation that both should be ashamed of and that at least one will continuously walk in shame of. Sorry you don't like the language, it is what it is and some other name does not change the reality of what it is.

      See, you interpret the bible with a self morality, imposing the answer that you would like to see on the scriptures. I know that because the evaluation of facts simply don't hold up.

      You say what about Solomon and that he was a bastard too, so I should be ashamed. Only Solomon was NOT a bastard. He had a father who was present and they were married at the time. So Solomon has no relevance to the story.

      Then you claim that Abraham prayed as if his love for his son trumped his obedience to God. When the fact is that it was God himself that told Abraham to listen to his WIFE. Hagar had no consideration and was to be sent away. Here is the scripture:

      Genesis 21:10-13~10-Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11- And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 12- And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13- And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed."

      God viewed Issac as HIS son, not Ishmael. Then Abraham OBEYED God:

      Genesis 21:14~And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

      And further, to clarify your utter confusion, the law of the husband exists as long as the wife lives...that is covenant, not simply broken with and through acts and actions. Here is what Paul said:

      1 Cor. 7:39~39- The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

      That is easily understood in the context of a marital bond in continuation no matter what has happened. A spouse that cheats and then is able to reconcile is YET under a covenant relationship. A covenant abides, it doesn't simply fade in and out as you assume by your statements. Divorce is permissible, but it is only then, when there is no chance of reconciliation that the covenant is broken. not with an act of indiscretion especially if there is repentance.

      Not, obviously, you could learn a lot from a "cave-man" including understanding that sperm by itself doesn't produce one baby...it's only when that sperm meets and fertilizes and egg that that happens...

      Your moral relativism is NOT a biblical guide for truth. Certainly men need to think, but a woman, since she will bear the brunt of the load and pain, certainly MUST think and maintain control over her body no matter what a man wants.

      Now, back up just one thing that you are asserting with an accurately interpreted biblical truth. I haven't seen you do that yet.

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  7. Such an interesting discussion. Pastor Burnett, I would like to make a comment concerning Abraham Sarah, and Hagar. My focus is upon attitudes and responses. It is without question that Hagar was used, abused and tossed away. This cannot be denied. By reading this it would seem that God did not care about her. Now, nothing is indicated here that there is anything that Hagar could have done to protect herself from being placed in this position because she was a slave.

    On the flip side of the coin, Hagar possessed something that was hers and hers alone. That something is called ATTITUDE. Yes, she was abused and in words today, she was "treated wrong" but that did not give her the Godly right to "fight back" by heckling Sarah. As we read through the passages, we find that Hagar and her son was not sent away before the heckling began. It stands to reason that Hagar's attitude added fuel to the fire that she was already in.

    Being that the scriptures bear record that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever(Hebrews) let's consider further. Hagar represents a segment of the unjust system we live in today. We are surrounded by those who will take advantage of us one way or the other, and manytimes, we use our own little tactics just as Hagar did to try to "pay them back". Her methods caused her even greater pain, and we meet the same fate today when we take that route because God says, "Vengance is mine, I will repay".(Romans 12:29), and He means exactly what he says..

    Although I never hear it coming from the pulpit, there is much that can be said about this passage. However, I will close with this: just as Hagar's attitude caused more problems for her and her son, there are folk today to have attitudes that are causing problems for themselves, and their entire household....Attitudes will either make or break the strongest elements..

    There was Abraham who loved both his sons but could not have custody of the two in the same setting. There was Sarah who was heckled and no doubt emotionally disturbed as the results of her impetuous acts, and there was Hagar. Oh, yes, the bondwoman who was taken advantage of, and no doubt in her dismay fought back based on the dictates of her own mind. As a result, she brought more troubles upon herself.

    No doubt, God permitted the record of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar to live on for more than one reason. Thank you for reading my response.

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    1. Now I see a post on this issue specifically is in order because these sentiments are incorrect:
      "Yes, she was abused and in words today, she was "treated wrong" but that did not give her the Godly right to "fight back" by heckling Sarah"
      and
      "Oh, yes, the bondwoman who was taken advantage of, and no doubt in her dismay fought back based on the dictates of her own mind."

      Sentiments along those lines are based on subjective opinion of fact, not biblical truth, and are contrary to the nature of God.

      In order to believe that Hagar, "was abused" or "was done wrong" one would have to conclude that God's nature is not intrinsically good. That God honored Hagar at any time as he honored Sarah. Both of those thoughts are contrary to God's nature, his word and any virtue.

      Hagar was a slave sure enough. More of an indentured servant. not chattel. Hagar also understood her restrictions and knew what God honored. God HONORED the marital union and bond. That was not supposed to be mocked or criticized at any time by anyone of the house, bond or free. Children are a blessing from the Lord and this was a concept thoroughly known in ANE times and culture in which these acts were done.

      For Hagar to mock and invite her son to participate in the same JUSTIFIED the punishment and judgement from the Lord because this was an ATTACK on the righteousness and establishment of God from the beginning when he made male and female and blessed them to be fruitful. Now, one can say that Hagar didn't know that, but yet she knew all other customs such as the custom of the child being born to the head of the household having natural rights....

      So one cannot say that god allowed ANYONE to do her wrong. She did the wrong by responding to what God established in a mocking and critical manner. Hagar doesn't represent those who have been taken advantage of as much as Sarah represents the persecution and criticism of those who await for the promise of God and value his blessings.

      I've never seen so much resentment for Sarah and longing of justification for Hagar. This let's me know that there are some people who have interpreted scripture by what they have either witnessed, seen, or allowed in their lives. Any of which does not allow the TRUTH of scripture to speak for itself and change hearts and minds.

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  8. My point was that Hagar's response to Sarah went against God's ways of doing things even after Sarah had misused her.. , Scripture was given to support my conviction. Speaking of the nature of God, His nature is His word, and His word plainly tells the creation to be kind one to another as the Apostle Paul spoke to the church at Ephesus. Although these instructions were given in the New Testament, they represent the nature of God, and that very same nature was there in the Old Testament.. It just happens that I believe the Old Testament is the New Testament foretold, and the New Testament is the Old Testament unfold. True, there is no more need for blood sacrifice, because Jesus did it all. Even so, God has not changed his manner in dealing with mankind. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Scriptures declare that.

    Your points are interesting. However, I must admit that I am one who is still growing in spite of all the years I have been here. It is interesting that you would write "She did the wrong by responding to what God established in a mocking and critical manner". I believe that is a segment of the things I have written, only your point of reference was different from mine. This too, goes to show how unlimited God's Word is, and one incident can cover a multitude of territories.. I would just like to add that everything that happens does happen by permission of God. This has been shown in the complete record here. God's perfect will was Isaac, but He permitted(allowed) Ishamel.

    By carefully reading your comments, actually i fail to see much difference between outcomes. You speak from the standpoint of family structure established by God and I speak from the standpoint of attitudes, and how they affect our lives. This area seems to be neglected among many, and I believe it is a trick of Satan. Neither of these ares are to be ignored. They both have spiritual merit, and show the nature of God..

    Again, the topic is interesting, and I appreciate the opportunity to share insight that does not deviate from the nature of God when we consider both the Old and New Testament recordings..

    Thank you responding, and I continue to stand by the things I have written, becuse based on my understanding of the Word of God,( please know I do not stand with those who appear to have a monopoly) there is much evidence of the things I have written. It was never my intention to try to teach anyone anything, because a mind that knows everything has no room for anything except to go aroound in circles.

    My comments were not written for agreement, only to share my position. Evidence will always speak for itself.

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    1. In dealing with any subject a faulty premise will always lead to faulty conclusions. In addition, repetition does not make whatever that is not right, correct simply because it's repeated...You continue to repeat as if it will redirect your faulty premise and mare it right. It won't. The premise you stated:

      "My point was that Hagar's response to Sarah went against God's ways of doing things even after Sarah had misused her..

      This being your first premise and obviously your "point" meaning the entirety of your statement is filled with wrong and faulty presuppositions...

      Sarah DID NOT misuse Hagar. That is plain and simple. Having a hand-maid have a baby of the household WAS NOT a misuse. It may be a morally relative position as that is not what anyone does today, with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but to say that there was ANY misuse by her or Abraham is INCORRECT, only a matter of personal, subjective opinion making, and not a matter of the text or a point or issue that was proven, set forth, directed or driven by God in any manner.

      So ANY and EVERY conclusion derived from that apparent abuse of the text...is unwarranted and not scripturally sound. So whether one is a baby or the most senior of seniors, THAT starting premise is wrong and a wrong place from which to leap to conclusions as it seems you have done and continue to do.

      As stated, REPETITION of a faulty argument cannot make it right.

      Now, the "permissive will" argument has little bearing on the issue. The issue is that Hagar "MOCKED" and criticized God, by mocking and criticizing the blessing of God and dishonored the marital relationship by her actions and the encouragement of her seed to follow suit. She was RIGHTFULLY judged and separated from the home as a result. Not only did she sin, but she caused her innocent son to engage and embrace sin also. Hagar was handled similar to Cain. Cain was given a mark, sent out and no man could touch him, but God himself. God took care of him and judged him. This is exactly what we have in Hagar and Ishmael. This is wholly consistent with the nature of God.

      Yes, the EVIDENCE speaks for itself. God is God and although people try and attempt to set the "standard" God is the ONLY one who has any standard to set and he never changes. All the things he did then, he does now. He HONORS the marital union and it's fidelity ABOVE all other relationships and sideshows, NO MATTER what is produced out of, by and through them.

      Tough Facts, but TRUTH!

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  9. Not sure where my response to your reply went. I will say this in response to your: "So one cannot say that God allowed anyone to do her wrong..." There is nothing that goes on in this world that God does not permit(allow), although it might not be His will. For example, God's will was Isaac, but he permitted Ishmael.

    Furthermore, God's nature is His word. We are told to be kind to each other in the New Testament(Ephesians 4:32) that same nature was there from the beginning. He never changes his ways of dealing with the creeation. No, there is no need for a blood sacrifice because Jesus completed that, but God's ways are still the same. Scripture says so.

    The Old Testament is the New Testament foretold and the New Testament is the old Testament unfold. Since my last response was lengthy, and I believe instead of submitting it, I signed out. Anyway, Everything i have written can be substaintaited when the two testaments are brought toggether, and i still contend that more should come from the pulpit that pertains to attitude and proper application. There is much in God word that are seemingly being ignored, and it is a trick of satan to keep God's people in bondage.

    The things you have written are really not that much different than the things I have written, only emphasis was placed on different standpoints. Just goes to show how one situation that is God given has the propensity to cover a multitude of territories.

    Moreover, I continue to stand by my responses, they do show the nature of God when both the Old Testament and
    and New Testament is combinded.

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