Did they really think they could get away with it?

“Life is short. Have an affair” -that’s the tagline for this Internet “hookup” site AshleyMadison.com. Hundreds of news reports and Internet articles are describing the hack of this adultery website.  Based on reporting it looks like millions of people worldwide are terrified that their name is going to show up in conjunction with this website. I find it fascinating how this security breach is playing out in the public arena.  This week, 37 million names were released of men and women who have paid money to use this website to have an affair. There are a lot of things that this security breach reveals: there is a false sense of security on the Internet, often a person’s practices are less consistent than their own sexuality ethics, and many people from all walks of life engaged in this immoral behavior.

This security breach also reveals an even more disturbing phenomenon… many people, believing they could get away with it, are now ashamed that they have been identified, but they’re not ashamed of their actions.   Which implies that millions of people had extramarital affairs as a result of this website and thought they would never be caught.

A day of reckoning

The truth is that there is a day of reckoning for every thing that we’ve done.   Nothing is hidden from God.  He knows everything (John 2:24), he sees everything (Lamentations 3:36), he judges every action perfectly (proverbs 24:12).

The book of Ecclesiastes reminds readers that although it looks like people get away with cheating- ultimately God knows their actions.  God will hold them accountable (Ecclesiastes 8:12).  The truth is, that although it feels like people are getting away with cheating because they don’t get punished right away (Ecclesiastes 8:11), no one really gets away with it.  There is no way to hide your identity from God.

Since life is short…

Let’s go back to the tag line for that adultery website- Life is short!  I couldn’t agree more with the AshleyMadison website on this sentence- life really is short.  I just don’t agree with their conclusion- “Have an affair”.

We all know life is short.  Human life- even for the oldest people among us- is very short when compared to eternity.  All humans know instinctively that they are going to die.  We are the only creatures on the planet that are aware of our own death (Ecclesiastes 9:5).  Death is as much a part of the human condition as birth.  We are all acutely aware that we are going to die one day- most of us just don’t live like it.  Since we’re all going to die and few people ever know exactly when their death will happen, I wonder why many people don’t live like it could all be over tomorrow.

What’s even worse, is that we don’t live like there’s anything after this life is over.  There really is an afterlife.  What we do here in life, echoes in eternity.  So, it is insane to live for the here and now with no thought of the hereafter.  This is what the founders of AshleyMadison were really selling.  Live for the moment. Gratify the immediate pleasures with no thought to the consequences.

I wonder about the sexual ethics of these users

I haven’t looked at the list of users for the AshleyMadison website.  I don’t plan to look at the list.  I’m afraid of the names that I might find on that list.  But I can’t help but wonder about the sexual ethics of these 37 million users.  Did they stop and pass judgment on those that use pornography?  Did they openly criticize practicing homosexuals?  Did they tell their children or grandchildren to wait to have sex until they were married or at least wait until you with the one you love?

Sex in the Bible is a beautiful gift, created by a good God for the enjoyment of married couples (Genesis 2:24-25).  Any sex outside the boundaries of a married man and woman is a sin.  That means, that there is no difference between adultery and other forms of sexual sin in the eyes of God.

A few suggestions for AshleyMadison users:

I am blown away by the investigations that this security breach has created.  Most of them seem to be related to using a government or work computer to pay for a sexual liaison. What I don’t see as a result of this scandal is genuine remorse or repentance.  Therefore, let me give some suggestions to the AshleyMadison users- whether your name was released or not:

  1. Learn a lesson from King David. When he was caught in sexual sin, he immediately owned his sin and begged God for forgiveness (Psalm 51:4).  This is called repentance.  Anything short of admitting your sin and turning to Jesus to clean up your sin amounts to an insincere apology.  God is not fooled by such idle words.
  2. Try honesty- if you’re one of the users whose name was released this week- look your wife or husband in the eyes and tell them everything! After you’ve asked for God’s forgiveness, ask for their forgiveness.
  3. Pledge fidelity- recommit to being faithful to your spouse for the rest of your life. You can’t go back and undo the affair that you had.  You can however, pledge to be faithful from this point forward.  By the way, you have no need to fear what people may dig up about you on the internet when you are being faithful.
  4. Commit to God’s plan for sex. Remember, sex is a very good gift from a great God.  However, we can easily abuse the good gifts of God when we use them outside of the way God intended for them to be used.

I keep watching the news of this AshleyMadison breach- I keep looking for biblical repentance.  I keep waiting for a man or woman to come out and publically admit, “I have sinned.  I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?”  So I guess you could say, I’m looking for God to make something beautiful out of the Internet disaster.

Further reading

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