For me this event is very interesting. Hacking isn’t a good thing, but God uses the bad for the better. We think of Romans as nasty people, and surely they were but without them we wouldn’t have roads, sewage and draining systems, education etc. Also someone could die a horrible death but their organs can be donated to help someone else. And I believe a similar thing has happened here with this.
I don’t know if the site will close down because of this or if it will continue to get users, but while ‘hacking’ is very unethical and wrong in our judgement because it is intruding onto another’s property without permission, and also theft of information, but the outcome, in a sense for us Christians, is positive. It’s positive because not only those Christians involved have ‘learnt their lesson’ and the truth has been revealed for those individuals and whoever is affected, but it has also revealed the truth of the site.
Before the scandal I did not know of this site, I had no idea such a thing was ‘available’, but now almost the entire West has been made aware of this site, the intention behind it and negative response which has been had (regret and heartbreak) hopefully this is a good lesson for the rest of us to realise how wrong this is! And how important love is! This is only one sin among many, clearly, but it’s definitely a good start for the secular West. And for us Christians in the West it is good for our knowledge to be aware of the site so that we can be cautious of what people we know can be up to and can help us prevent our brothers and sisters from getting into such a mess.
On the other hand, some of us were or still are very upset about seeing our brethren involved with this scandal. So here are some tips to help you through the aftermath of this event:
- Forgive and Forget
Literally, (to be blunt) get over it. The main thing of this event was to target people and the wrong that they’ve done. It’s already been done (and possibly more names to be revealed). We don’t have to re-target fellow Christians of their sin, it’s been done. It was done when they came to Christ and now this recent event is a wake up call to them. I understand your pain and anger for their betrayal not only to God and their partners, but to the church, but the last thing we need to do is to keep these people in the spotlight. Much like my opinion towards the Duggard family right now, the church has been commanded to build each other up (1 The 5:11; Rom 14:19), keeping these people in the spotlight will not benefit them, it will only impact their spiritual growth negatively. They need time out of the limelight and a quiet, peaceful time to discuss these things with God.
Encouraging someone requires love. Whether you’re having difficulty encouraging someone close or just even a stranger half-way across the globe here is a break down of possible ways you can check how you are treating someone, and representing God’s love.
- Words of Affirmation – speak to the person and let them know that they are loved, that you are glad they are in your life, thank them etc. The opposite of this is either not speaking, or speaking but not with love. If we are not speaking with love we are demeaning someone and their image in God, and believe me I am just as guilty for this as anyone. Even when times are tough we must speak with concern but also with love.
- Acts of Service – Some people view service as a big part of love (God and the church definitely does). In regards to this scandal we can offer our practical gifts to actually help the exposed in their growth. Are you a counsellor, teacher, leader or pastor? Maybe you could offer your service by giving them one or two free sessions to plan where they need to go from here. Or are you good at socialising? If everyone else is avoiding them, maybe you should be the one to step up and make them dinner one night. This leads into the next topic…
- Receiving Gifts – Gifts are encouraging to receive and represent your kindness and thoughtfulness. You could invite someone over for dinner, or you could give them a card saying ‘I forgive you’ or a little note that quotes the lyrics of MercyMe’s New Lease On Life ‘You’re free indeed, you’re dead no more, and at your worst you’re still adored’
- Quality Time – Sometimes people just need your time and your company. A couple of my closest friends are much like that. I could be making up some fancy Biblical lecture in my head I could give them for the particular situation they just went through, but the reality is, all they need is just my moral support of just spending time with them and not trying to force any new knowledge on them. Knowing His Grace, they probably already are learning about what they did wrong and how to prevent it in future, that’s not our job. Just give them your time and undivided attention – like Christ has given and continue to gives us #bestfriends
- Physical Touch – This is not ‘ooh la la’ touch, this is rubbing someone on the back for comfort, this is hugging someone when you greet them, for family members kissing and longer hugging. Some people just respond better to physical bond with someone rather than just hearing someone speak all the time. [For married couples, this language does go into the more romantic and sexual aspects of physical touch, but I think even for the case at hand, after learning about one’s spouse cheating, something like intercourse I would not encourage because it may just spark confusion instead, and we’re not here to make our spiritual growth worse!]
[What I’ve mentioned here are classified as the ‘5 Love Languages’. There are books available on them in greater detail.]
3. Live Clean and Repent Quickly
Like every preacher says, no one is perfect, and all have fallen short of the glory of God. >Insert Gospel here, yet to those who believe, receive the salvation and die with Jesus on the cross.< We were renewed when we first believed, at baptism and are constantly being worked on and renewed every day, if you allow yourself to be. We are not slaves to sin but Satan still creeps around the corner. It’s still fairly easy for us Christian to fall back into sinful habits whether it’s constant or a ‘one-off’. A big reminder to all Christians is that we have to strive to living the purist we can be, not just sexually but in other parts of life. And there’s no use in trying to hide your sinful self away because you know God sees everything 😉 What you do or don’t do, it doesn’t make it less effective if you hide it. All of us ‘play up’ every now and again and all of us are being worked on. Do not jump to conclusions on others. Be angry and do not sin. Be concerned and give that issue to the Lord. Look at yourself whilst looking unto the Lord. Ask for His cleansing and ask that He blesses other brethren with a sound mind and cleansing too.
4. Repeat (Until you meet your Maker)
Whether it’s adultery, fornication, thieving, killing, lying, disobeying etc. God has forgiven them, and we should forgive them also! Blessed are those who have faith and have not seen! Faith is the core of our love brethren! Remember the images we were created in, remember the love of Christ and how far that can take us. Our God is a Lord of second chances.
Other articles that discuss this Ashley Madison situation:
Let us use this time wisely to forgive, help and encourage our brethren onto a purer path.
‘Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.‘ ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
‘But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience… Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.’ ~ Romans 8:25; Romans 12:12