Like clockwork, at the annual men’s retreat the topic will inevitably come up, along with strategies for taming the monster. Before long, the speaker is advocating “getting real” with your “accountability partners” – that group of a few guys to whom you tell all.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with getting together with your buddies and confessing which pigpen you’ve been wallowing around in. And it is a little uncomfortable to talk openly and pray with the guys for victory over the various ways you’ve been committing adultery.
Wait a minute . . . I’m not an adulterer!
Really? According to whom?
Jesus said that merely looking at a woman with lust is committing adultery. So even if we’ve kept the sin discreetly inside our minds, looked at magazines when nobody’s looking, or erased the porn history on our computers, its adultery by God’s definition – you know, the one that matters.
Time to get the accountability group together . . . I can tell them but I definitely can’t tell my wife. It would really hurt her and I want to spare her the pain.
Every married man understands this logic. When we’ve sinned sexually against her, our wife is the last person on earth we want to talk to about it.
Question: Is it really because we want to spare her the pain or spare ourselves the shame?
There’s something too easy in telling only the guys – all of whom struggle or have struggled with sexual sin. There’s a safe comfort in the fellowship of failure. It’s a no-risk proposition. After all, you’re confessing your sin (against another person who isn’t present) to a group of guys who have pledged that no matter what you’ve done you will never be rejected and nothing, absolutely nothing, of what gets said will violate the gag-order you’ve all agreed to.
It’s not what Jesus did. He became sin in front of the very person against whom the sins (our sins) were committed: God. And, Jesus bore the shame and the pain of God turning his face from him. He was physically tortured, bleeding, and shamed – hanging naked for everyone to see.
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Your wife is the accountability partner God provided you. And, wives, your husband is the accountability partner God provided for you. According to Him, you are one entity (the two shall become one) and your bodies belong to each other, made crystal clear by 1 Cor. 7:4.
A lot can happen when we don’t hide our sin from our wife – when we confess and ask for forgiveness. She will be hurt. She might even reject you. Sin brings shame, pain, and consequences.
But, there’s something that happens when we’ve borne the shame of our sin before our wife. What once had a hammerlock on our conscience begins to lose its grip.
Confess to your wife and drag Sin, kicking and screaming, into the light where you can get a good look at what a powerless wimp it really is. I can’t believe I gave into to that!
You did, but you didn’t have to. For the Christian, sin has no power except the power we give it – Romans 6:12.
So, step into the light with your real accountability partner. Tell her you don’t want to just say you are one but to live that way from now on.
Circumstances will vary and applying this principle will not look the same in every marriage but for most, this is how God would have men confront sin against their wives.
Matt is married to Lisa Jacobson; they are raising their eight children in the Pacific Northwest. Matthew is an author, speaker, blogger, and pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship. Matthew and Lisa are also the authors of the best-selling “his-and-her” marriage books, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife.