It was around the middle of May 2008, when I stumbled across a section of scripture in Romans 7:2-3 that says, “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” That’s when the Lord suddenly took the scales off my eyes, and revealed to me that I was an adulteress by being married to a divorced man who, according to the Word of God, is still married to his first wife:
I was in shock, especially since it was my desire to draw closer to the Lord, and then to find out that I was an adulteress made me feel sick to my stomach. I had been studying the commands of Christ, and was especially eager to find out how I could better love the Lord and love my neighbor. So here the Lord was answering my prayers in this unexpected way by showing me that in order to love Him and love my neighbor then I could not continue to live in adultery. I don’t know why He enabled me to repent on the spot, but He did, and I am grateful, because I could not have obeyed Him in my own strength. Up to that point, my husband and I had been married for over seventeen years, and we had two children, a girl (16) and a boy (14). How was I to tell them what the Lord showed me??? When my husband came home from work, I said that I had to talk privately with him, and I showed him from the Bible what the Lord showed me. Needless to say, it took him completely by surprise. But he could see that I was serious, and he was troubled. It was even harder trying to share this with our children. It was just too much for them to bear, and they were angry and confused. Oh, how I wish the Lord had taken the scales off their eyes too, but that was not the case, and I had to determine that I was going to obey the Lord despite all their protests. It was difficult trying to balance compassion towards them with the firm resolve to obey the Lord in spite of their resistance, and I’m afraid that I did not always handle the situation properly, and sometimes came across as hard. We were all hurting so much, and I could not risk giving up because of the suffering involved. I had to set my face like flint to obey the Lord.
This was my second marriage, as I had been married before with three children, but my first husband had been killed in an accident. Then several years later I met my second husband who had been separated from his wife for over 18 months as she had left him for another man. At that time I had long dark hair, and he told me that the Lord showed him that he would get married again to a woman who had long dark hair. We dated a bit, but I knew it was wrong to date a man who was technically still a married man, and even if he had been divorced I still knew it was wrong to date him (as in God’s eye’s he was still a married man.) So I told him that we could not see each other anymore. Then a few years later he continued to pursue me and wanted to visit me, and I made the mistake of saying yes, and we wound up asking the Lord for signs to confirm if He wanted us to get married or not. Big mistake, because when people start looking to signs instead of the Word of God, they are opening themselves up to deception as the Lord will never go against His revealed will in the Bible. We got a few convincing signs right away, and believed the Lord was giving us His blessing to get married. But with our blended family of “his”, “mine”, and eventually “ours”, things did not go as smoothly as we hoped, and the first four years of our marriage were quite stressful, and at one point during that period we separated for five months. But we were determined to make our marriage work, and even went for counselling and to a marriage seminar which actually made things worse for a bit. But the Lord was using all these experiences to teach me that I needed to draw closer to Him, and so I yielded to His discipline and entered a stage of learning to be content in all things. I was learning, be it ever so imperfectly, and the Lord was continuing to deal with my heart each step of the way. Then I had to deal with the fact that I had gone against the Word of God by getting married to a man who was still married to another woman, by believing in signs that contradicted the Word of God. When I shared this conviction with my husband, at first he felt justified in marrying me, but then later he came to me crying and saying the Lord showed him the same thing. So we both asked God to forgive us for going against His Word, and we determined that we would warn others not to do as we had done. So we figured that God had forgiven us and assumed that meant we could still continue being married. We still had no idea that it was a sin for us to remain together as we never heard that preached or practiced, and we knew several Christians that were continuing in their divorce and remarriage. I think we were so used to the idea of divorce and remarriage being acceptable in our society, and acceptable in the church, that whenever we came across a scripture that called divorce and remarriage “adultery”, that it just didn’t register that we were STILL living in adultery by remaining together. Our minds must have reinterpreted those verses or put their own translation in place instead, I don’t know.
So when the Lord finally did remove the scales from my eyes, and I tried to share it with my husband and kids, they wouldn’t or couldn’t accept it. But I knew that I could not go on living in adultery with another woman’s husband, and immediately moved out of the bedroom until we could go our separate ways. It took another six months before we could sell our home and get separate places to live. My family and friends, most whom claim to be Christians, thought I had gone off the deep end into deception, or turned away from grace, or joined a cult or something. One even said his pastor wondered if I was making all of this up in order to leave my husband, but in spite of the pressures all couples face, I was content with my life, trusting the Lord to help me grow in love as a Christian, a wife and a mother. People just could not accept that God would want us to separate. They figured there just had to be some other reason why I was doing what they considered to be a crazy thing besides the fact that the Bible calls it adultery, and God commands us not just to confess sin, but also to obey Him and forsake sin in order to be forgiven (2 Tim. 2:19; Prov. 28:13; Rom.6:1-2; 2 Chron.7:14, etc.). My husband and kids thought it was all happening too fast. I don’t know if they expected me to give them a warning and say, “OK, in 100 days the adultery will have to cease”. I don’t know why people seem to think that having kids justifies living in sin?? I live in an area where there are a lot of polygamous Mormon’s who have several wives, and several children with each of their wives; yet I’m sure most Christians would agree that if any of those Mormon’s became a Christian, then they would be required to separate from their extra wives. My two youngest children struggle with this and think that they are a mistake, but I reassure them that according to Psalm 51:5 we were ALL conceived in sin; ONLY Jesus was without sin! I stand almost completely alone (aside from a couple of family members whom I thank God for) as practically everyone I know has turned against me or persecuted me for obeying the Lord in this matter of forsaking the sin of adultery, as they consider me a source of shame and embarrassment to them.
But in the end, I hope that, Lord willing, someday my children and others will see that there are serious consequences for going against God’s design for marriage. He intended marriage to be one man for one woman until death separates them. I am humbled that the Lord opened my eyes before it was eternally too late for me, since His Word declares that no adulterers will inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21). I am grateful to the Lord for giving me the grace to repent and turn away from my sin. I am far from what I should be, but I know the Lord is not done with me yet. I long for the Lord to be glorified in my life and in the lives of my loved ones, and towards that end, I pray.
Judy Potvin Zevenbergen