Ask Your Preacher
How does adultery affect a family?
Dear Damage Control,
Adultery is devastating to a family. Adultery breaks the vows of marriage and destroys the trust that God intended for marriage (1 Cor 6:16). It is debilitating to the emotional well-being of the spouse that has been cheated on. God said that marriage is meant to be built upon love and respect (Eph 5:33) – adultery decimates both of those.
Children grow up too fast in a home broken by adultery. Children are products of the environment their parents create for them (Eph 6:1-4). If a marriage is hurting, so are the children that are supposed to be protected by that marriage. A family can survive after adultery, but the damage is deep, and the healing takes time.
I am married, and my husband and I fight so much that we don’t have any feelings for each other any more. He doesn't believe in God, and we have a child together; our relationship is nothing but mental abuse, and I know it’s not healthy for any of us to be in this situation, and there is another man that’s in my life, and I feel that we could be happy together. I'm only twenty, and I know that life’s too short to live this way, and I want my son to treat women better than what my husband does, and I know if I stay with him, my son won’t have a chance. I don’t’ know what to do. Please help!
Wife In Despair
Dear Wife In Despair,
You have some biblical options, but getting involved in an adulterous relationship isn’t one of them! If you want to be pleasing to God and protect your soul, you must cut off the beginnings of this illicit relationship. There are ways to make life better for your son, but this isn’t one of them.
Scripturally, there are several things you can do. You can separate from your husband (1 Cor 7:10-11). You can also (and should) get counseling with or without your husband (Pr 11:14). The only scriptural reason for divorce is adultery (Matt 19:9), and from what you have stated, that hasn’t happened.
If you are really concerned for your son’s well-being, then simply separate from your husband with a desire to reconcile if possible. Your son’s well-being isn’t dependent upon you dating other men… in fact, he will benefit from knowing that you aren’t giving up on his dad – but simply trying to do what is best.
My question regards generational curses. My mother and father recently divorced. I have now learned that my mother continues to have relationships with married men. I somehow feel like her choices in her life will somehow curse me in relationships. I have recently broken up with a man I thought I would have a future with. Is this just the enemy trying to defeat me? Thanks!
Dear Distressed Daughter,
Children pay for the choices their parents make… but not in the way you are concerned about. People pay for the sins of those who have gone before. If your father was an axe murderer, it would affect you, your children, maybe even your grandchildren (Ex 34:7)… but eventually he would be forgotten, and the consequences of his behavior would dissipate. That is what the generational curse is – that children must live with the repercussions of their parents’ choices. You are dealing with that right now.
Divorce affects children in horrific and lasting ways. One of the repercussions is that you begin to doubt whether or not you are capable of having a lasting and faithful marriage. The doubt and fear you have is a pain you endure because of your mother’s choices… but you don’t have to recreate home. Every person has the God-given gift of free will (Matt 7:13-14). God wants every marriage to be happy, faithful, and for a lifetime (Eph 5:31-33). In spite of your parents’ choices, you can choose a godly spouse and live a godly marriage. Your parents’ decisions cannot deny you the right to live faithfully and have a fully successful future. In fact, make it a point to be the person who changes your family tree.
In Leviticus 12, why were women who gave birth commanded to give a sin offering? This seems to imply there is something inherently sinful about giving birth, which doesn't make sense.
Dear Born Free,
It is hard to tell for sure why this law was written the way it was. Most scholars agree that there is much that we don’t fully understand about the details surrounding Old Testament sacrifices. There are a few possible answers, but certainly nothing definitive.
- This sin offering could be associated with physical uncleanness, not a moral failing. In Num 19:9-17, we see the ashes of a sin offering being used to purify people from the uncleanness associated with touching dead bodies, sickness, etc. All of these impurities were ceremonial impurities – but not sin in the sense that we think of it in New Testament terms. A mother was unclean from the blood involved in childbirth.
- It may fit into the category of a generic sin offering because all people sin (Rom 3:23). Job made sacrifices for his children in case they might have sinned (Job 1:5). As the mother began the process of raising and nurturing a child, this sin offering would have served as a generic sin offering for previous sins she had committed unwittingly (Num 15:27).
Those are two possibilities, but as we said, there is no definitive answer that we are aware of. This may fit into the category of “the secret things belong to God” (Deu 29:29). No matter what, it doesn’t prove that childbirth is inherently sinful because God commanded Adam and Eve to “go forth and multiply” before sin entered the world (Gen 1:28). God would never command mankind to do something that was wrong.
What is the age of accountability?
Old Enough to Know Better
Dear Old Enough to Know Better,
The age of accountability is the age when a child becomes accountable to God for their sins and would be judged for them… exactly at what age that happens is the tricky part of your question. We can tell you what the Bible says on the subject, but it doesn’t say much.
We know any baby that dies goes to heaven. David’s son died, and David made it clear that his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23). Also, Paul uses the immaturity of children as an example (1 Cor 13:11). This tells us God doesn’t have the same expectation of a child’s behavior as He does of an adult’s. Children are not bound by the same rules as adults. A child doesn’t have the mental capacity or maturity to be held accountable for their mistakes like adults are.
In order to become a christian, there are several things God expects you to be capable of doing:
- Take responsibility for your sins (Acts 3:19).
- Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
- Be responsible for your own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
If a child is not capable of doing those things, they cannot be held accountable for their eternal future.
This still doesn’t answer the question though because every child matures at a different rate. Everyone agrees that a five-year-old can’t be held accountable, and that a twenty-year-old can. It is the age spectrum in between where our judgment gets fuzzy. Only God, who knows our hearts (Lk 16:15), can accurately judge the hour in which a child makes that transition into accountability.