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Forgiveness for Adultery

When we look at the biblical references to adultery we find it most often mentioned in the Old Testament. It was also often referred to as usually being done by the woman against her husband. Leaving one to believe that only women were capable of committing such a sin. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the New Testament Jesus is asked about his feeling on divorcement. He asked them what Moses had said was law and they gave him the legalistic if the man grows weary of his wife he may put her away with a paper and basically she is an outcast and he can go on his merry way.

But Jesus confronted their ideals of divorce and adultery. He informed them in Mark 10:9-11 that whatever God had joined together no man should put asunder. If they sought a divorce and went on to other spouses they were both guilty of adultery. For in God’s eyes a covenant was made espousing them one to another regardless of how they felt or what wrong they feel had been done to them by the other spouse. This gives us clear evidence that Jesus and God both viewed marriage as an unbreakable covenant when it had been arranged by God. When we take that thought process how many of us really relied on God and God alone to provide our mates?

But later in John 4 we meet the woman at the well. She is our first encounter that deals directly with the sin of adultery, even though she is not of the Jewish race. Being a Samaritan she is viewed as lesser then by the Jewish community, for Jesus to even be in their village speaking to one, let alone a woman, was a huge deal. He broke through borders of religion and sex in one fell swoop. But he went one step farther and walked into the forgiveness of sin, the sin of adultery. She was guilty of it by any definition, she knew it , Jesus knew it, everyone knew it. But Jesus gave her hope. He filled her with words of life unlike any she had ever heard. He saw the root cause of her rambling ways. The seeking of unconditional love and acceptance from another. In his words to her he demonstrated the beginning of what would be the basis for his whole message. All fall short, but all are welcome to come to him in repentance and find what it is they are looking for. He shows her compassion, love and mercy in a matter of minutes, leaving his followers speechless.

In John 8 we are introduced to the woman caught in the act of adultery. She is brought to where Jesus is in the temple, teaching all who would hear. The pharisees in an attempt to prove that he was not who he claimed to be brought the woman into the heart of the temple and laid her at his feet. They admitted she was caught in the act and that Mosaic law stated she was to be stoned to death by all. As she lay at his feet you can almost sense the tension in the air, you could have heard a pin drop literally in the silence that followed. The pharisees waited for what should have been his approval of her death, but they once again were shamed by the Master. As he sat writing in the sand he said, “ Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”

One by one each accuser was forced to drop his stone. For none were without sin. They were forced to admit publicly in front of the people that had convinced of their piety that they were just like them. Human and therefore guilty of many of the sins they had cast judgment on them for. How many had died wrongly at their hands, simply because of their inability to follow their own law. For the Mosaic law required a sinless person to present the punishment. In that moment alone they had each broken one if not more. They were all guilty of committing adultery in their watching her in the act. They had seen her commit the act before, they stated she had done it before. So their looking the other way prior was another sin against them. They were left defenseless.

Throughout the New Testament we are reminded again and again that none of us are holy. We are all dirty and all screw up. One sin is the same as the next for sin is sin. So yes we are to forgive for the sin of adultery. When we realize that according to Jesus we are all guilty of the act if we simply look at someone with desire. Therefore we are required to forgive them of their sin, just as we would wish to be forgiven of ours.