Posted by: Derek Guyer | June 17, 2009

Reliving the Pain of an Affair

Just recently, Lisa and I took the family down to Kentucky to work with a couple. We had been asked by their church to come and help to sort out things with them. We spent a lot of time in private sessions with the husband and wife talking through some deep pain from an affair in their marriage.

However, on the way down, I relived a little bit of my own pain from Lisa’s affair. Driving down I-65, from Indianapolis, we past numerous places and things that immediately brought back up vicious reminders of our affair in my mind. It was incredible how quickly I digressed and began thinking evil thoughts and wanted to hurt the other man. I was shocked to see that within 30 seconds or so, I had already begun thinking about how I could kill him and get my revenge. But, that’s where it ended and that’s where it ended fast. I was able to quickly get my mind back under control and remember the forgiveness offered to me by the Son of God and begin to relax.

It wasn’t always that way. There was a time when those thoughts were regular and even sometimes seemingly unstoppable. The misery of the hatred I felt in my heart was frustrating. I tried and tried to get it under control, but it just seemed so impossible. Sometimes, the thoughts would just run through a crazy cycle that I felt I’d never get out of. I can remember this going on for hours and even days. It hurt so bad. The depression would settle in, and I’d be out of it for a while. When I’d come back out, Satan would give it a few days or hours and then bring me right back down there. I remember specifically, towards the very beginning of finding out about the affair, that I couldn’t even get a job. I walked into an interview and the woman interviewing me  looked at me about halfway through and said, “Derek, you look depressed.” Wow! I didn’t even know her. I didn’t know what to say. I was so overwhelmed with my life, that I didn’t have a clue how I looked and talked. I was a mess and even the world could see it. The pain was numbing me.

Finding peace and calming down could take anywhere from an hour or two to two or three days when news of the affair first came out. This struggle lasted for quite a while. So, thinking about the 30 seconds of rage I was feeling is pretty amazing to me. It may seem like a fast drop into thoughts that deep and sinful, but it’s a huge accomplishment to me. I’ve come a long way, and God is healing my brokenness. How?

Well, through that time when the affair was still so fresh, God helped me to deal with the wounds. Instead of running from them, He helped me to get in and forgive during the worst of it. When the rage would hit me as thoughts of the betrayal surfaced, he’d take me back in and remind me of all of the times I betrayed Him and turned my back on Him. He wasn’t doing it to rub it in my face but was showing me what He’d done for me. Then, He’d ask me to do what He did. He asked me to forgive as I’d been forgiven. He asked me to show mercy as I’d been shown mercy. He asked me to love as He’d loved me. He showed me how as I turned those thoughts over to Him slowly. 

I didn’t heal overnight. In fact, I’m not done. I’m still healing today. I plan to forgive and love for the rest of my life, as I expect He’ll be doing for me all along the way. I plan to take one step at a time and learn to love as he loved and to hand over that mercy and forgiveness he offered me, even when it seems impossible.

Some say they never want to think about all of it again, but I think that’s a huge mistake. I don’t want to think about it all of the time, and I’d never encourage that idea. But, I think we do need to remember it. We need the reminder of what happened, where we’ve come from, and where we are, so that we can remain humble and merciful twenty years from now, as we all know He’d want us to be.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:12-15 NIV

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