Welcome to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Episode #16. The title for today’s episode: When the Pastor’s Wife Commits Adultery and When Adultery Hits a Christian Couple, Should They Stay Together?
Over the past two episodes of Greenleaf, “Revival” and “Point of No Return”, a major revelation regarding Lady Mae Greenleaf came to light. In “Revival”, Bishop Lionel Jeffries comes to Calvary during the church’s Fall Revival, and it quickly becomes apparent that he and Lady Mae share a secret from their past. In “Point of No Return,” Lionel Jeffries’ son, Aaron, who is moving into the Greenleaf estate, reveals that he knows about Lady Mae’s affair with his father, telling her, “I’ll never tell anyone about you and dad. What would be the point?” His words echo his father’s from the prior episode: “I didn’t come here to cause you any trouble.” Lady Mae tells Lionel, “You think I should have run off with you when I had the chance. That whole thing was a mistake.”
In an interesting juxtaposition of events, the latest episode also finds Mae counseling her daughter Charity, who is getting closer to her music producer, against ending her marriage with Kevin. In only the way that Lady Mae can say it, she tells Charity that it is better to let her marriage bend so much that it is “knotted up like seaweed from a swamp”, but not to let it break. Apparently, she knows what she is talking about.
While adultery by either party in a marriage is to be condemned — whether that couple is in leadership or not — and while the offending party should confess and seek forgiveness, some question whether a married man or woman should leave their spouse. Some have criticized wives who “stand by their man” after an adulterous affair is revealed. Some men feel like they will appear weak if they stay with a woman who has committed adultery. But what does God’s Word say?
When the Jews came to Jesus, asking Him whether divorce was lawful for any reason, Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (This presumably includes the man or woman with whom the adulterous party had relations with.) When the Jews pressed Jesus on the matter, pointing out that Moses made provisions in the law for divorce, Jesus said, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” In other words, divorce was never a part of God’s plan. Moses only allowed it because he knew that man, in his sin and rebellion, would not abide by God’s plan.
Jesus goes on to say, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” This statement was aimed at those men who believed they could divorce their wives for any flimsy reason (such as irreconcilable differences), as was allowed in those days. (Of course, back then, only men could go to a judge asking for a divorce. Without a father or husband to back them up, women had no representation before the law.) Jesus is not saying that a man should divorce his wife or that a woman should divorce her husband if they commit adultery. He is simply saying that, under what should be the rare circumstance of adultery, it is allowed.
That being said, the church is called to a higher law — the law of mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Jesus our Savior speaks of Himself as the “bridegroom” or the husband of the church, “the bride.” Has the church been perfect? No. Down through the centuries, we have gone after false doctrine and heretical teachings. We have not always obeyed God, loved God, or loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not lived up to the standard set by the Lord in His life on this earth. We have committed spiritual adultery, putting money, career, education, worldly acceptance, and other people before Him. But does He divorce us? Does He say, “You are not my bride”? No. He loves us, forgives us, and abides with us. Yes, there will be rough times, but if we are truly His, we will ultimately return to Him, confess our sins, seek His forgiveness, and He will still regard us as His own.
In the same way, Christian husbands and wives ought to do all that is within their power to follow Jesus’ example, and stay with their spouse till death — not adultery — do them part. Of course, this will require that both parties be honest with each other about unconfessed adultery. We hope that Lady Mae takes that advice. The truth of the matter is, most divorces happen not because of adultery but because of the lies and dishonesty about the adultery. As they say, it is always the cover up about the sin, not the actual sin.
In closing, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can be forgiven of your wicked sins of the past no matter how dark, God is available to hear your prayer of confession and to hear you ask to be saved from sin and from the punishment of sin which is eternal hell and separation from God. And you can begin a light-filled relationship with God Almighty today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s laws. You have done some bad things. You have broken the commandments of God. So have I. And so has the Pope. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…” We die physically because of sin and we go to hell to burn forever, to be tormented forever because of our sin. God does not put us into hell; we put ourselves into hell because of our sin.
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ, the loving Lord of glory, preached more on hell than anybody in the Bible. He preached more on hell than he did about Heaven. He said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Now that is bad news, and I know most people do not want to hear any bad news. But you have to hear the bad news because the good news is good news because there is bad news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, your sins and mine. And all we have to do is trust Him and believe that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you and me so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
And please believe these words found in Romans 10:9 & 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Saved from what? Saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell.
If you believe in your heart on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer and mean it from your heart: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life — even some of the sins being brought out in this show called Greenleaf. I am sorry for my sins, and today, please have mercy upon me a sinner. I believe with all of my heart that You died for me, was buried, and rose again. Now, Lord I pray that You would fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to repent of my sins and to follow You for the rest of my life for Your glory, praise, and honor, and, from this point on, to be the shining light that You want me to be. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray, and for His sake, Amen.
Beloved friend, if you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read my pamphlet titled, “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, my beloved, may God bless you and keep you. We look forward to seeing you for the next Gospel According to Greenleaf podcast.