Liars, cheaters, thieves and me.

I have a friend of mine who writes a blog called, “Writing is cheaper than therapy.” There is a lot of truth in her title. Writing and blogging and reading others writings are great ways to work through issues you are dealing with. Though I do write for myself first (aka cheap therapy), I have found that many of my entries have resonated with others as well. Based on some of the private comments I have received after my last blog entry (Before you cheat… 14 things you need to know), I must have struck a chord with some of my readers.

When the topic of cheating comes up, there are few people who take a neutral position. Because of the serious nature of the crime and the emotional baggage it carries, it often brings with it a very passionate reaction. Most people despise the cheater since that emotion is easier and comes naturally. After all, cheating is despicable and non-defensible. Some people offer sympathy, not just to the offended person but even to the culprit. Those who empathize can usually relate to one or the other on some experiential level or they are more in tune with their own fallen nature. A few will recognize the universal truth: hurt people hurt people. Though the offended party is understandably hurt, the cheater is not without his/her own level of pain. For many cheaters, their pain existed long before the affair and their selfish actions were born from that pain. For those that were wronged, their pain begins after the betrayal and they often do what they can to seek revenge. As I said, hurt people hurt people.

So, why do cheaters cheat? What causes them to even entertain the thought? Why do they take the risk? Do they really think they can get away with it? In a word, yes. Remarkably, every cheater who has ever cheated has done so because of two powerful reasons:

  1. Pride and
  2. They actually believe their own lies.

Cheating is the height of selfishness. In that world, there is a cheater and his/her perceived needs that must be met. Nothing else exists. In this narcissistic state of mind, there are a number of lies that must be told and believed before a cheater can even begin to think his/her plan is possible, let alone feasible. Here are the top 10 lies that must be purchased. pinocchioInterestingly, most of these lies can apply to someone who wants to rob banks, embezzle money, look at porn, or even do drugs. The “crime” doesn’t matter. The over inflated sense of self and the ability to believe their own lies are essential.

  1. I won’t get caught. This is probably the most absurd lie of them all but is truly the cornerstone of all the other lies. If this lie can be believed and swallowed, then the rest of them go down much easier. The truth is, you WILL get caught. It’s not a matter of if, but when. If the Director of the C.I.A. cannot conceal an affair, what makes you think you can?
  2. No one will ever know. This lie is similar to the first but more in-depth in its scope. Not only will you not get caught but this is a secret you can take to your grave. After all, you have all your “bases” covered. All your alibis are solid. All your stories are straight. All your text messages deleted. All your emails erased. No one will EVER find out about it. You repeat this lie over and over until you believe it. The truth is, one day, EVERYONE will know, even if that knowledge occurs after you’re gone.
  3. What they don’t know, won’t hurt them. This lie makes a lot of sense to a cheater but few cheaters would want that logic applied to them. Would you want a merchant to overcharge you for a product without your knowledge? Or worse yet, would you want a doctor to not share the diagnosis of cancer with you? I mean, if you don’t know the truth, it can’t hurt you, right? The truth is, sometimes, what people don’t know can destroy them.
  4. Everybody is doing it. This is a common phenomenon in human behavior. Thieves think others are stealing because they are. In like manner, cheaters often assume others are being unfaithful because they are. Granted, adultery is rampant in our culture. But the truth is, NOT everyone is doing it. There are many faithful, loyal men and women out there – showing the rest of us what fidelity & commitment looks like.
  5. It’s not that big of a deal. Downplay. Minimize. Reduce. Common tactics for someone who is playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded pistol. If it’s not a big deal, then why all the lies? If it’s not that big of a deal, why the secrecy? If it’s not such a big deal, do it openly. The truth is, it IS a big deal and the knowledge of it will devastate everyone who knows you.
  6. People already know and are ignoring it. Some of the lies sound crazy once you are living in the truth. This is one of them. There are times when you are convinced that everyone knows and they are turning a “blind eye” to your behavior. This is false anesthesia to the soul. The truth is, no one is condoning your actions. They truly don’t know…yet.
  7. God will forgive me. This is a case of spiritual gymnastics. The cheater has enough knowledge of God and His word to be deadly. Yes, God will forgive all sins except unbelief (Mark 3:28-29). However, this does not mean you should presume upon His grace or forgiveness (Romans 6:15). Even if God forgives you, it does not mean you will come out unscathed by His consequences (Proverbs 6:29). The consequences for such behavior are truly devastating for everyone in your life.
  8. My spouse will forgive me. Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Is this the risky card you really want to play? Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. It does not mean you will be accepted back or restored to your previous position. Forgiveness may be quick but trust will take years. You are making some dangerous assumptions about someone you are hurting.
  9. I’m not getting what I need. This may be true but cheating isn’t the answer. Just because your employer does not pay what you “need” does not mean embezzling money is the answer to that dilemma. If you are not getting what you need, tell your spouse. Go to counseling. Meet with a therapist. Attend a support group. Talk to a friend. Though cheating may scratch your itch for a season, it won’t make the itch go away. There is a deeper itch beneath the surface that cheating cannot scratch. Commit to finding the proper solution for it.
  10. It’s just a physical thing. Nope, wrong again. It’s an emotional thing. And a mental thing. And a spiritual thing. It may seem physical to you but your whole being is involved here (mind, body, spirit), not just one horny member of it.

For a cheater, most of these lies will sound familiar. They may even have a few more of their own. Some or all of them are essential to believe before the cheating begins. So important are these that you can’t continue in the destructive behavior without swallowing one or more of these pills daily.

One day, though, the truth will come out. One day, the lies you digested will make you utterly sick. One day, the world you have created will face the world that is. Reality eventually trumps fantasy and you will wake up to realize the dream is actually a nightmare. The alarm cannot be snoozed. The deeds done in darkness will eventually be exposed in the light. Each and every lie will be addressed by the Truth.

A word of caution for all the non-cheaters reading this. It’s easy to throw a judgmental rock at a cheater, particularly if one has cheated on you. It’s easy to create a “me vs. them” mentality. After all, you are better than they are since you didn’t cheat. Remove your judgmental glasses for a minute and grab a mirror. Or better yet, grab a Bible. It appears that you may not be off the hook either. According to Jesus standard of faithfulness, “anyone who looks at a woman (or man) lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

You may not have committed that particular “deed” but all dirty deeds start in the heart and yours isn’t as clean as you think. The only difference between your heart and theirs is they followed through on what you have already considered. Or, you just haven’t been caught yet. Or your temptations are different. Adulterous thoughts, actual affairs and judgmental pride are all the same in God’s book. Consequences are certainly different but hearts are the same. And Jesus didn’t come to clean up behavior. He didn’t just come to pardon sinful actions. He came to change wicked hearts. And according to His standard, apparently you have one too.

“There is no one righteous, not even one;there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one… there is no difference between the Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:11,12, 23)

“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. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-3)

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About Rod Arters

As a former youth worker, business owner, school teacher, coach and inmate, Rod has the unique ability to relate to almost anyone in whatever situation they are in. His thought-provoking blog about life, mistakes, faith, hope & grace has been read in over 175 countries. A popular writer & speaker, Rod draws from his deep well of biblical knowledge and personal pain to encourage others along the broken journey to wholeness. He hosts an invitation-only private Facebook group for men (called the Man Cave) and enjoys helping others find Hope in the midst of their painful situations. He currently resides in Columbia, SC.
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32 Responses to Liars, cheaters, thieves and me.

  1. According to Jesus standard of faithfulness, “anyone who looks at a woman (or man) lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
    I was thinking as I read your 10 reasons people cheat that all 10 of them also apply to things like viewing or reading pornography.

    • Rod Arters says:

      You are right. Only on earth do we rank people’s sins and create a moral caste system. In Heaven, even a silent, brief, prideful thought can cast you out. You are either perfect, forgiven or absent. 🙂

  2. Such a powerful post. I think I heard all ten of these excuses and reasoning from my husband when he finally came clean with his years of infidelity.

  3. Pingback: Before you cheat… 14 things you need to know. | The Official blog of Rod Arters

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  7. I find it interesting how often the focus is only on the spouse who is cheating and not on the third party interfering with someone else’s partnership. It really is both of them cheating.

    I have heard so many times “well, i didn’t make any vows, so I am not doing anything wrong…”

    Of course they are… They are cheating the betrayed spouse out of their relationship. They are covertly injecting themselves into a marriage, taking five, ten, twenty hours a week that belongs to the betrayed spouse and having it redirected to them instead. Not to mention gifts… Sheesh.

    Infidelity does not function in a vacuum. That’s what a lot of wayward spouses and third parties don’t seem to get. If the affair starts up, that necessarily takes away from someone/someplace else… time, money etc. Infidelity on a practical level is no better than breaking into someone’s home and stealing their 52 inch high def TV set. It’s worse actually…

    I am sure there isn’t a betrayed spouse out there that would have preferred their TV set stolen than have their marriage violated.

    Anyways, I just had to speak up against the third party, they are accountable here just as much so… if not more than the wayward is.

    And yes, in many cases the infidelity is double-jeopardy… both cheating waywards are married which just makes it much much worse.

    • Rod Arters says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. Oh, how I wish I would have thought about adultery in the context of stealing. It is much worse than a theft of an object.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. “I am sure there isn’t a betrayed spouse out there that would have preferred their TV set stolen than have their marriage violated.”

    I meant that in reverse.. sorry. lol

    I am sure if the betrayed spouse had a choice between their TV set or their marriage they would hand the TV over and throw the remote in just for kicks rather than have their marriage violated.

  9. Kayla says:

    My spouse was beating me up and verbally, emotionally mentally abusing me from Day 1. After years of enduring that with him telling me he loved me and I needed to learn from a command, order or request for me to be able to perform as he expected on all levels, I find out recently he has been cheating on me with so many different women- he would cheat on them with other women at the same time as well. Some physical, some texting, some Facebook emotional affairs?
    The affairs started from Day 1 also. I wish I had not stuck around for the abuse and to keep our family intact if I had known about his lies early on.

    Is it God’s plan for me to endure many years only to find out about the cheating so that I could finally leave? When I found out, my husband wanted me to beg on my knees that he would not kick me out for “daring” to find out.

  10. Kayla says:

    What about those women he cheated with? One told me I was not “sweet” enough.

    I pressed my husband’s clothes for him, fed him late dinners while he was driving to work. Let him sleep in while I worked more than 16 hour days. Tried to give so many hugs, encouragement, small notes to remind him I was there for him. He would push me roughly away and tell me I was disgusting. I did not deserve any love, tenderness until I learn to differentiate from a command, request or order.

    He would reward me with intimacy whenever he feels I do something right and he would withold intimacy to punish me. No right to sit beside him at the dinner table during punishment.

    • When I had my ex arrested in Feb. 2014 of this year I had to speak to a female detective about the event and our history. She told me that even though he did not hit me I was a victim of domestic abuse. I knew it on some levels, but hot how deeply it really was/is. Layers peel off over time and more realizations come to me about the fire I have walked through.

  11. Kayla says:

    Did those women know that he would beat me the same Sunday afternoon wherein we just went to Church in the morning?

    The Other Women have no right to judge me, they did not see through the charming facade of my husband. I asked our pastor, how do you forgive someone like that?

    The answer was, God made night, but he also made day. If there is death, there is resurrection for new life. Do you agree?

    I cannot understand as it never crossed my mind to cheat on my husband despite how he treated and abused me. My singular thought was to try harder and do better next time to keep our family intact. I loved him more than myself. How do you pick up pieces of shattered dreams and hopes?

    • Tanka says:

      Cheating is just a selfish act if a coward. I divorced my cheating husband after over 20 years. The day he received his divorce petition he emailed “do you think by you filing for divorce I am coming home, then you are wrong.” How much clearer can I make it? I served him with divorce papers and he thought I wAnted him back. I am do glad that I stood up for myself and said “I am done “. Enough. His little co worker can have him. Do I blame her? I used to hate her and now I am grateful she came into my marriage and destroyed this family. I am glad she is my replacement. One day she will experience the pain they have caused. Once a cheater always a cheater.

      • Rod Arters says:

        Tanka,
        I’m so sorry for your experience and the pain it has brought. I pray that God would allow you to find a way to forgive him for his wrong – as withholding forgiveness does not hurt the one it’s withheld from. Blessings to you as you move on in your life.

    • You take it day by day, sometimes hour by hour. Every few weeks you can look back and realize you have made some progress forward, even it is baby steps.

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  13. Pingback: Unfortunately, Adultery Has Become an Epidemic In Our Culture: Here Are 14 Things to Know Before You Cheat | BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

  14. purrduedvm says:

    excellent piece…and dead on..

  15. Leah says:

    When my husbands affairs came to light part of the most heart breaking thing for him, besides breaking my heart, was the fact that the women whom he had affairs with needed Jesus just as bad as he did/does. He knew the Lord, and decided to be selfish… He also said though, that through the years of lying, and deceit. When the truth finally came out he felt as though someone may feel when being released from prison. Sex is so prevalent in our country. It’s everywhere you look. Its never an excuse to cheat, but there is NO reason that you must lose everything if you do. It’s been just over a year since I found out about his infidelity, and yes it’s still hard but, just because he “cheated” God does not expect me to use it as an excuse to leave. We are a family, and I am expected to forgive him, as the Lord has done as well. He is repentant, and sorry and is working on becoming a changed Man.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Leah,
      Your response is a breath of fresh air. Many women, though wronged, like to use their husband’s mistake as an opportunity to beat him up (and down) for the rest of his life. Your love for him, forgiveness offered to him and support to stay with him will do more for his journey of becoming a changed man than you will ever know. Assuming the man is repentant and desiring to change, a new man (and marriage relationship) can be created out of this mess. Sadly, too many men don’t want to change and too many women don’t want to stick around long enough to see it happen. I applaud you…

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Tanya says:

        What kind of respect do you have for yourself to stay with a cheater? If you have children what kind of example do you set for them. That it is ok just to forgive a cheating spouse. Let me tell you something “once a cheater always a cheater “. The best and only option is divorce. God hates divorces but he will allow it if there is adultery involved.

      • Rod Arters says:

        Tanya, we all make mistakes and people deserve a second chance, particularly IF they are remorseful and trying to do the right thing. People can change with God’s help. The Bible (and our world) is full of stories of people with radical life change. What a beautiful example Leah is setting for her children; forgiveness, restoration, redemption, love, commitment.

  16. dcarruthers3 says:

    My ex husband has addiction issues and in 2010 decided to have an affair and refused to stop. We ended up divorce. His thinking that after out divorce the relationship was fine. I have told him it is not in God’s eyes because of the sinful nature that it was started under. Plus by staying it shows no remorse.
    Well last fall the other woman ended the relationship when shelved on to another man. I showed him grace during this time and tried to work on a relationship with him. However, he would not begin counseling and cut off all avenues to access to her.
    Now he is in contact with her again and his salvation concerns me. She has a true Jezebel spirit and when he is with her he spirals down emotionally. He is not the same man as he was before the affair. I’ve heard this from many women in my position.
    What is your opinion here? Do you feel if he had gone back to her he has no remorse ? Should I be praying for his salvation ? He claims to be a Christian but the Bible clearly says that people that commit adultery do not inherit the kingdom of God. I feel like if he was repentant before God he would not have any contact of any kind with her any longer. Plus he has never asked our children for forgiveness nor acted like his actions are wrong. I know God would forgive him but will God do this if he chooses to still be with her?

    • dcarruthers3 says:

      I’m sorry. I had a few typos in my post but did not know how to correct them.

    • Rod Arters says:

      I’m really sorry to hear of this. Heartbreaking for all involved. Infidelity changes everyone it touches; the culprit, the victim and the children. Trust, if it is ever regained, can take years to restore. If your husband was truly repentant, he would discontinue all communication with this woman. If your husband was truly repentant, he would ask both you and your kids for forgiveness. I don’t like to get in the habit of declaring who is (or isn’t) a Christian simply by their actions (only God knows the heart) – but it would appear that there is a disconnect between his relationship with God and how he lives. Eventually, if the truly Holy Spirit lives within him, he will repent and begin the restoration process. Please guard your heart with him. Let his actions, not his words, determine your relationship with him.

      And yes, keep praying for him. Pray for his heart to break and for his consequences to wake him up. Most of us don’t change until we have to.

      • Rod,
        Your words are so true. And yes I am concerned for his salvation at this point. He accepted the Lord right after we were married but allowed the addictions lead him to where he is now. He is now in a new relationship with a woman that is divorced bc her husband cheated on her and went to therapy for two years. What she does not know is that she still has soul wounds and is still attracted to the same type of man. He is very narcissistic and since this relationship is relatively new she is caught up in the fake charm and lies and he is good at it she will not listen to anyone telling her any different about him. I feel sorry for what is down the road for her.
        Right now I am dealing with volumes of paperwork to mediate with him this week and it stabs at my deep pain that is not totally healed. And you are so right, His ACTIONS HAVE TO SHOW REPENTENCE, NOT HIS WORDS.
        I am protecting myself from him and want this mediation finished about support payments done.

      • Rod Arters says:

        Denise,
        Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. Keep protecting yourself while keeping your heart open to what God may be saying to you or teaching you. You are not alone!

  17. Pingback: 14 Things You Need To Know Before You Cheat | lovesantita

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