“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
Unless you are currently living in a cave (in which case it’s amazing that you’re even reading this right now) , you will know that a group of hackers recently released the names of nearly 90,000 clients who used the online “affair” site – “Ashley Madison”.
There have been some claims, mostly unsubstantiated, that nearly 400 Pastors would have to resign because of their involvement on the website. I don’t know about you, but this whole scandal just makes me sad. If church members and pastors are indeed involved in this fallout then what kind of testimony to the “unsaved” does that have? What would be the “Christian” fallout? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish to convey an “us vs. them” mentality here, but certainly we have to concede that we DO have a responsibility as Christians to live as “Set-Apart”. How can we set an example of godly living if we aren’t really living above reproach? How could this translate to other faith-seekers out there? Would they become disillusioned because of this display by “Christians”? Or is this just par for the course? Is this just a “Christian” issue or is it also a society issue?
Here are three lessons that Christians can learn from this whole Ashley Madison debacle:
“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.” -Warren Wiersbe
1. The Truth Will Always Come Out:
I don’t say this to be judgmental, I say this because it’s true. Adam and Eve couldn’t hide the truth from God in the garden when they disobeyed Him, so what makes us believe that our outcomes will be any different? I know that sometimes affairs happen for many different reasons. Some because of neglect, abuse, distance, a moment of weakness and so on, but it’s still a tragedy all the same. It was never how God intended love to look like or act when it came to humankind. Sometimes I wonder if these sort of things happen because people think they won’t get caught.
I’m reminded of the scripture verse: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Luke 8:17 If Christians believe that hiding issues and sins will never be found out, think again.
If you think that as a Christian you will never struggle with temptation again, then you’re sorely mistaken. Temptation is still alive among Christ-followers. When Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray, He even taught them to pray against temptation when He said “And deliver us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”(Matthew 6:13).
If we know we struggle with a specific type of temptation, then be aware of it. Be vigilant. Be on your guard! Christians, even though they are “Set Apart”, can still stumble and fall! If some Christians have been caught in this whole Ashley Madison debacle, I pray that they find healing, forgiveness and grace on their road to recovery and reconciliation! Temptation is very real, especially among those who claim to be Christ-followers.
3. If We Don’t Guard Our Heart, We Can Easily Fall!
The last lesson is this (and I believe that it’s connected to the last lesson).
-Guard your hearts.
Put up barriers to sin and temptation.
If you have trouble with overeating then don’t drive by the doughnut shop…you get my point. Take special precautions to avoid situations in which you might fall into temptation. Be proactive in avoiding such a scenario in your life. If you’re proactive, you stand a better chance of side-stepping that which trips us up. When we guard our hearts, we guard our lives; we filter the kinds of things that we allow into our hearts and minds. We are then able to withstand such a barrage on our lives.
I don’t wish to condemn anyone who is caught up in this scandal today.
I’m certainly not perfect, and I’m sure you aren’t either.
Here’s a newsflash – The Church isn’t perfect either. In fact, our Church doors are open to all who are imperfect and require the kind of healing and grace only Christ can offer. We might be tempted to sit back, purse our lips and judge people who have been caught by this whole Ashley Madison mess…but think again. Hold your judgements and try to offer grace. I’m not saying we allow sin to continue to be active in our churches, I’m just saying allow grace, forgiveness and love to enter into the equation before we ever consider casting the first stone. I pray for grace and healing for those in need of it today! May we all seek God’s favor in all that we are and ever hope to be as Christ-followers.
Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!