Ashley Madison, Forgiveness, and Restoration

Aug.31--198x300By now you’ve probably heard of the Ashley Madison scandal. It’s
horrific for families and for society.

Ashley Madison is a website, a website dedicated to adultery. The tagline of the website was “Life is short. Have an affair”.

Over its 15 year lifespan, 30 million people worldwide signed up for an affair.

With a huge database of names, the website was hacked in July and the names published in August.

I haven’t gone to the public list to look at names; nor do I intend to do so. Unfortunately, I don’t have to see the list to know the tragedy and sorrow caused by this whole sordid website and the consequences of it.

How do we respond?

After getting over anger and extreme disappointment, we need to respond with love, forgiveness, and restoration.

Many, many families will be hurting. We will need to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill  the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Here is the message I sent to a (out of town) family that I knew on the list: “I want you to know I love you, and I love your family. I hurt for all of you. Sometime, I hope we can sit down and let you know that I do love you and care for you deeply.”

I have been praying fervently for these families. How tragic what we do to ourselves.

The Ashley Madison site prominently displayed: “life is short.” It is. Too short to destroy lives and families.

Let the church be such that we forgive and restore.

We must also see what we have brought on ourselves. This is a societal problem. In the 1960′s, a sexual revolution occurred in our country. We tore down the old mores, and we established a new ethic (actually, and un-ethic). We are now reaping the tragic consequences – – in so many areas – – of that ethic.

Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Christian Research said the rampant adultery evidenced by the Ashley Madison data leak is the fruit of the sexual revolution. He wrote about it this way: “Many are reaping what they have sown individually, but we are also reaping what we have sown culturally.”

“As the Ashley Madison leak moves  from a big data file and glaring headlines on a computer, to strained conversations or screaming matches around the kitchen table, maybe it’s worth asking, ‘Is this really what we wanted as a society? ‘ ”

And, yes, let those of us who follow Christ remember we are called to another way. “That way is the way of Jesus, who spoke of a man and a woman becoming one flesh–one marriage, one sexual relationship, for one lifetime” (Ed Stetzer).

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