Two Honest Women
Sex Addiction Recovery Dialogue

Healing from the Shame of Infidelity

Sometimes the shame from one who commits adultery is worse for the person than the actual act.  Lewis Smedes shares about leading candidates for shame in his book, Shame and Grace.  He shares this story in the section called Guilt Spreaders;

The shame equation is this: one wrong act equals one bad person

There was once in the city of Karpov, it is said, a gifted piano player named Lech Koplenski who, because he had no connections in the concert world, played the piano every night at a popular cabaret.  Chenska Wolenka was an attractive woman who loved Lech with a selfless devotion to his dream of becoming a concert pianist. 

A producer of concerts often came to the cabaret, and Chenska struck up a friendship with him so that she could bring Lech to his attention. 

The producer of concerts made Chenska a proposition.  If she would make love with him, he would see that Lech got his chance on the concert stage.  She agreed, and in his bed she made good on her bargain.  The producer made good as well.  Lech did indeed play the piano on the concert stage.

Lech went off on concert tours, became a star, and did not come back to the cabaret.  All that Chenska had left over was a deep shame of herself.  One early morning in May she jumped from her apartment window to her death in a Karpov alley.  Taped to her mirror was this sentence:

I am filth.

I did, therefore I am; this is the fatal equation.

Let such people tell one lie, and in the twinkling of an eye, they are liars.  They commit one act of infidelity, and they are therewith adulterers.  They go to a party, talk too much, tell a story to the left of good taste, are reminded of it on the way home, and sink into a funky shame for being half-witted fools.  This makes about the same sense as saying that if you pound a nail in a piece of wood that you are a carpenter. 

And so shame may devour ones soul.  I don't say I am an alcoholic (though there is certainly a time when doing so was instrumental to my healing) though I am very aware I should never take another drink.  I haven't had one since 1989.  One who strays isn't forever an adulterer.  I don't desire to be labeled and judged by my worst behavior.  To do so negates and discounts all of the love and forgiveness offered by God.  My belief is that he shamelessly stands ready, no he sprints to us shamelessly, to embrace and enjoy us after we stray and return home.