No. This is a LIE! Those who make this statement do not understand repentance. I heard this statement from my sister when I told her about my husband’s affair. I disagreed then, and I disagree now. You see, if my husband had never confessed his sin to me or to God; if he had never ended the affair; if he had continued to lie to me and had remained in sin, then there would be truth to this statement. But, he did confess his sin; he did end the affair, and he does not lie to me at all anymore. His life is an open book, as it should be. I witnessed his heart change. It was manifested in the way he began treating me and our marriage. I saw his godly sorrow for the sinful choices he made and for the pain he caused. I have been married to my husband for over 15 years. I know him better than anyone else on the face of this earth. I have seen his dark side, and I have seen his good side. I have seen him fall and I have seen him rise again. He is not perfect, but neither am I; nor are any of us for that matter. If I say that people cannot change, then for that statement to be true, it must also apply to myself. If my husband could not change, then I could not change. If I can change but he cannot, then I need to have a serious talk with God because I am lying to myself. I need to ask him to show me my sin so I can change. None of us get to heaven without changing. When we get saved, God begins changing us. It is a lifelong process, but the change does occur. None of us have to be bound by our past.
But, I point you to Scripture, as I always have, to show you the truth. We are all wretched sinners, beyond hope or help, except through the blood of Jesus. If none of us can change, we all are doomed to eternal separation from God. That is the truth. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” (NIV). But that same Paul was transformed by the power of God. He writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Why could Paul write that? Because he had been changed. Before he met Jesus, he was a murderer. He encouraged and oversaw the persecution of Christians. He was present at the stoning of Steven. He had been an awful person. But, he was changed.
I do not hold my husband’s sin against him or over his head. For me to do so would be for me to be in sin. For one reason, that is not forgiveness or love. For another reason, I would be standing in condemning, unmerciful judgment of him, and that is not my place. It is God’s place. God will judge each of us with the same measure we judge others. Jesus made that truth very clear in Matthew 7:1-5: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye. You hypocrite! first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Jesus used some strong language in this passage for those who use hypocritical, self-righteous judgment. He called them hypocrites, not because there was no sin in their brother’s life, but because they were ignoring the sin in their own lives and refusing to deal with it.
When you are in sin, when you refuse to acknowledge your sin, if you judge others, God calls you a hypocrite! Not the one you are judging. Get your life right with God before you try to “help” someone else get their life right with God. Even if I am living right with God, there is a right way and a wrong (sinful) way to speak to others about their sin: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1). Galatians—there’s another book by the apostle Paul who referred to himself as the worst of sinners. Paul says to restore people gently, not in harsh judgment. In Ephesian 4:15, Paul admonishes those who claim to be Christ’s: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Paul tells us to restore people gently and in a loving manner. How many of us do that? Instead, we puff ourselves up, somehow putting ourselves in the place of God and play judge, jury, and executioner, deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are somehow above someone else just because our sin is not the same as their sin. That is just as sinful as what we are judging someone else for!
Sin is sin is sin. It does not matter what your sin is. It is just as repugnant to God as my husband’s lying, cheating, and adultery were. God will judge each of us according to our sin—not according to the sin of others. I alone am responsible for my choices and my sin, just as you alone are responsible for your sin. If you disagree with that statement, talk to God about it, because it is the truth. Why is it true? Because God, not mankind, determines sin. He has told us in his word what sin is. None of us are excused. What my husband did was sin; what the OW did was sin. Neither were innocent. But I also sinned, and I have shared some of those times with you. When I stand before God on judgment day, he is not going to ask me to give an account for anyone’s life but my own. God will not accept, “But my husband did this, God. You don’t understand.” Nope, that’s not the way it works. God will deal with each of us for our choices that we made freely and willingly. God will not play the blame game or allow any of us to point our fingers at others. His question will be, “What did YOU do?” Do you think that the guards in Hitler’s army were without blame for murdering millions of Jews? Do you think they could argue before God, “But Hitler told me to do it.” No! Hitler did not make them do anything. They CHOSE to do what they did. Just as all of us CHOOSE what we will do. It is my sin, so I will own it. It is your sin, so you must own it. That’s the way it works.
Lying, cheating, stealing, cursing, having sex outside of marriage, having sex with someone you are not married to, taking God’s name in vain, adultery, pride, arrogance, conceit, jealousy, bitterness, wrath, malice, unforgiveness, condemning judgment, murder, greed, lust, idolatry, sloth…All of these are sins, but this list is not exhaustive. If you have ever lied, ever stolen, ever cursed, ever slept with someone you were not married to, ever committed murder, you are a sinner, just as I am a sinner. That’s why we all need Jesus. Satan was kicked out of heaven for his sin of rebellion birthed in pride, so why should any of us think we will get INTO heaven in sin? We are deceiving ourselves if we think we can. God is loving, merciful, compassionate, patient, gentle, and kind, but he is also holy, just, and righteous. He will judge all sin because he is a holy God. He will use the same standards for everyone, and no one’s sin will be excused.
I have shared with you how God turned what was intended as evil against me into good, how he changed something ugly and painful into something beautiful. If God can change such a bad situation, He can certainly change the hearts of men, just as he did my husband’s heart. Just as he did my heart. Just as he has changed countless hearts. Nothing is too hard for God.
Now, if my husband was still lying and cheating, then I could not say he has changed. I would not say he has changed. I have never attempted to condone his actions or choices. He did some horrible things, but his sin was no worse than your sin or my sin. All sin is ugly to God. God hates all sin. There is never a defense for sin—any sin—no matter how big or small we as humans may see it. God does not see sin as “big” or “small.” Your sin, my sin, our sin—SIN sent Jesus to the cross. Jesus’ work on the cross is the remedy for sin—ALL sin. So, if you for some reason are are presuming to be God, take some time to look at yourself in the light of God’s truth. Allow God to show you areas where you need to change (areas of sin). He loves you, and will show you if you sincerely and diligently seek him. He does not want anyone to die in their sins. That is not his perfect will. Looking at ourselves and acknowledging our sin is hard. I know, but it is absolutely necessary if any of us hope to change. Because only those who have been changed into the image of Jesus will see God. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. A proud heart is a judgmental, self-righteous, hypocritical heart that refuses to acknowledge its own sinful depravity. A humble heart says, “Jesus, I have sinned against you. I confess it as sin. Please forgive me and help me not to do it anymore.” Humility or pride—choose the one you want to live by, but my choice is humility because I want to be like Jesus. What about you?
Once a cheater? Yes. But not anymore, by the grace of God.