For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
A woman once came to me and confessed she was in an adulterous relationship. I told her she had to stop the affair and she immediately did. Then she asked me if she had to confess to her husband. I told her to do what was best for her marriage. She concluded that if she did confess to him their marriage would be over. I had known both of them for years and I think she was correct. He would not have been able to handle that information from her. She did not tell him and they stayed together. Assuming that if she had confessed to her husband it would have resulted in his divorcing her, do you people reading this response think she made the right decision?
It is a hard question and one that I have not committed in my 57 years of marriage, but I can see both sides. On the one hand if you confess it to your spouse they will always have doubts that you might do it again. It destroys the trust that we put in our spouse. Some can handle it better than others, and it is an excuse for divorce.
If there are children involved it even makes it more problematic. If the spouse can not handle the infidelity then there will be divorce. Now the children are left with out one of their parents.
But it may get back to your spouse through someone else, and then you have no choice but to confess it.
I would take it to the Lord in prayer and it may be the Lord will say to confess it and let the chips fall where they may.
I can only put myself in the place of the person who didn't find out about the affair. I have been married for 45 years and 6 months. If my wife Faye has been unfaithful to me I don't know about it and I don't want to know. I have never looked through her things, came home unexpected from a business trip, or did anything else to try and find out if she is doing something I wouldn't be pleased with. Those things are done by people who don't trust themselves or their spouse.
I don't know if not confessing was the "right" thing for the cheating spouse to do or not, but I believe it was the kinder thing to do. Yes, confessing would have lifted the burden of guilt from the offender, but what about the offended? Sometimes it's good to know when to leave "well enough" alone (Mother Hickman).
The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools (Eccl 9:17).
To everything there is a season (an appropriate time), a time for every purpose under heaven: (Eccl 3:1)...
a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to cast away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak (Eccl 3:6,7).
I think the time to keep silent is an important time when the next verse to this text is considered.
Verse 8: a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
I committed adultery and silently I confessed before God to forgive me. I felt ashamed before God and to myself. I speak to people about the love of God but I silently committed it. I regret it a lot and never want to be myself also. I prayed to God and confessed but not to my husband. If I confess to him I know very well that it will spoil my relationship, not only condemning me but that will hurt him emotionally and physically as he is a hypertension patient. I can't bear to see that. I love him but I betrayed him. He doesn't know anything but trusts me still. I know God loves me more and protects me since my childhood, but I failed Him. I'm grieved because the silent voice always tells me of my filthiness. Please tell me how to be assured of God's forgiveness.
First, read your comment out loud (in your own voice) and consider how it sounds. I can tell you; it sounds like the confession of a repentant person.
And that's to me, a sinful mortal man, loaded down with sins of the past, present, and future. Imagine what your confession sounds like and does to the heart of a loving Father, God, who sent His Son to take the sins of the world away.
Jesus has already paid the ultimate price for all sin. By faith we believe God's word concerning our forgiveness IN CHRIST. In Jesus we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin (Col 1:14). God IN CHRIST forgave us (Eph 4:32).
It's not about you (or me or any other saved person (sinner), it's all about God's desire to exhalt His Son.
1 John 4:9 says, 'In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His Son into the world so that we might live through Him.' In other words, God gets pleasure in forgiving us. It shows His character in a major way. God didn't send His Son to condemn the world, but that through Him the world would be saved (John 3:17).
Please don't misunderstand what I said above. If your confession didn't ooze and drip with sorrow the way it does it would still get God's attention. He forgives us IN CHRIST, not because we sound a certain way.
How do you know you're forgiven? Because the debt was paid at the cross by the One He sent to rescue us.