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Faith community: Fabulous Fibs or Raw Reality?

Fellow faith community, the betrayed feel forced to choose fabulous fibs instead of raw reality when they are in your presence.

Here are some examples.

Present day conversations among the faithful: Fabulous Fibs

"How are you today?"

"Fine. God is good." Meanwhile, her relationship just got rocked as her husband admitted to looking at a little porn... again.

"You look tired today. Is everything ok?"

"Oh, kids are getting older and things are hectic in our home." Actually, she was up all night looking at her husband's bank account trying to figure out why there were so many cash withdrawals.

"I didn't see you at Bible study. When will you be coming back?"

"I'm not sure. Things are pretty busy right now." The truth is she cannot stand being in public because she doesn't know with whom her partner has slept with.

God's preferred conversations: Raw Reality

"How are you today?"

"My life sucks right now. My husband is looking at pornography again; he won't get into therapy for himself; he's telling me all guys do it and I'm miserable." (Yes, I'm pretty sure God's ok with us saying things "suck".)

"You look tired today. Is everything ok?"

"Oh, no. Nothing is ok. We are broke and my husband is taking out a lot of cash. He says it's for expenses he doesn't want to charge work for, but I just don't believe him. I feel crazy."

"I didn't see you at Bible study. When will you be coming back?"

"Not for awhile. My husband just told me he's having an affair. I don't trust anyone right now."


If the betrayed disclose their raw reality, they fear alienation and judgement.

We send missionaries out to dirty, poverty laced countries where they endure physical discomfort. And, we struggle to hug a woman with an STD due to her husband's infidelity because it is emotionally uncomfortable. It sure feels better to feed a starving orphan than believe sexual sin is sitting right next to you. Thus, those fabulous fibs are more spiritually satisfying than the raw reality satan is prowling your pews. We like safe, cushy seats during sermons.

But our communities are forcing partners to compromise their values around a crucial, Christ centered teaching:

John 8:31-32: So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (ESV)

Well, except for betrayal trauma truth. That truth will get you ostracized.

Can you imagine the inner turmoil of seeking support from Christ, who is tangibly represented on earth by churches and ministries, but knowing sanctuary is contingent on what type of pain one expresses? Betrayed partners must suppress their raw reality and be dishonest if they want emotional support from most of our faith communities.

However, due to their fierce need for validation, these faithful partners plead with the Lord privately on bathroom floors, sob in corners of their closets, and scream in the lonely refuge of their cars. They believe and know God is willing to hear their truth: their raw reality. They seek Him anywhere but the church.

How can I help our communities embrace this discrepancy? Maybe it help you to view them

  • As widows

  • As surgical patients recovering from open heart surgery

  • Or as rape victims

What will help you have compassion for the betrayed?

Michelle Mays describes partners encountering betrayal:

Betrayal trauma is undeniable and ominous.

Partners who have been betrayed desperately yearn to be seen and accepted. Lean in to them, hug them, and if you are not in a space to hear their raw reality (emotional discomfort), please have the humble courage to lead the betrayed towards educated support.


"It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error.

It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals,

than falsehood that comforts and then kills."

Adrian Rogers


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