My friend cheated on her husband but has ask the Lord to forgive her, and believes He has and is sorry… but does she still have to tell her husband?
In order to obtain forgiveness from God, it is important to recognize our guilt and confess before Him our waywardness. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This verse is very clear in the process of obtaining forgiveness. The very first step is to confess our sins. If we excuse our sins are in reality justifying our actions. What happens when we confess our sins honestly & truly without any excuse whatsoever? He will for give our sins. Isn’t this wonderful, the moment we confess our sins to God, He in reality forgives them. And what else does God do? He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. How much unrighteousness do I have left if I confess all my sins? NONE!
We know that we are to confess our sins to God alone since He is our only Mediator. 1 Tim 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Jesus is our only Mediator so all of our sins are confessed to Him.” But does God every require us to confess to another human being the sins that we commit? James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” According to the verses that we have been reading, we are to confess our sins to God, who alone can forgive them, and now it adds that we are to confess our faults to one another (SC 30). Quite obviously these faults have even brought consequences upon the individual so that they are diseased either bodily or mentally or even emotionally. In order to resolve those things, God has required the individuals to confess their faults to one another. Now what is the difference between a sin and a fault as we are to confess our sins only before God? The only verse that I can think of that can explain that difference is Mat 18:15. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. According to this verse, a fault is something that involves another person. It is still a sin, but it has the addition of another being involved. If I commit a sin that nobody know about, I am to confess that sin to God alone and no-one else; but the moment it involves others, then I need to confess that fault to that person as well otherwise, God does not accept that confession.
With this background, does this lady need to tell her husband what she has done? I ask another question, did she sin against her husband? Has she violated the marriage vow to be pure and faithful to him alone? Since He is directly involved, in order to obtain that full forgiveness from God, she needs to confess her guilt to him and if possible obtain forgiveness from her husband. This is the only way that the marriage can be restored otherwise, it will eat out the marriage from within until it is destroyed.
May God give you the wisdom necessary in order to have this type of confession.
I would add that this is such a difficult issue today as the violation of the seventh commandment is taken very lightly and yet has such dire consequences upon the family relation of not only the husband and wife but also the children and then even upon the church and society at large. I would wish above all things that those who are listening to this broadcast today that if these types of temptations come upon you, think of the consequences of your actions before taking that step that lead to great difficulties in your life. May God help us all to give us the strength to be found faithful to our God and to our marriage vows.