Ashley Madison: Three Ways to Guard Against an Affair
On May 10, 2015, Mother’s Day, a tornado gutted a small east Texas town. Two were killed, many were injured, and dozens of homes were utterly destroyed. I know; I was there. My wife and I, with little notice, responded to the roaring, freight train-like rumble by snatching up our two sleeping toddlers and piling into the bathtub, covering our heads with a toddler mattress as we prayed for God to spare our lives. We awoke to a disaster.
Between August 18 and 20 of 2015, millions of other lives were affected by the whirlwind hacking of the online infidelity website, Ashley Madison. Forbes magazine reports that 28 million of the 38 million accounts were publicized for the entire world to see. (Forbes) Multitudes of families learned that someone in their family was living a life of deception.
Robert Hansen, VP of WhiteHat Security found that most of the Ashley Madison users use a webmail address, assumedly to hide their true identity and/or prevent their spouse from intercepting any of site’s communication. The Forbes article says,
“Apparently not everyone was smart enough to obscure their real-life identity using a webmail address, though. Hansen found well over 13,000 email addresses from .MIL and .GOV domains and a handful of congressmen among the hacked data. He also identified a substantial number of addresses from various Fortune 500 companies…Perhaps the most shocking revelation is that Hansen found three accounts using Vatican.com email.” (Forbes)
Ouch. That last one really hurts. Men and women of God aren’t immune to deception. The most famous affair in the Bible is King David’s in 2 Samuel 11:1-27. In the wake of David’s fall, the account ends with a forlorn concluding statement: “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.”
Where do we go wrong?
Many factors can be at play in infidelity, but I’m going to mention three standout qualities.
- Deception: David’s desire to cover his tracks and conceal his sin was deception at its core. David’s efforts to hide his fall cost the lives of Uriah and the child born of Bathsheba and David.
- Passivity: This story begins David relinquished his kingly duty to fight for his kingdom and his people. “In the spring,at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out…” Infidelity often begins in Christian homes because couples don’t know how to fight for their God-given covenant.
- Lust: David peered over his balcony at Bathsheba and “sent messages to get her.” (v.4) Lust demands right here, right now.
How to Be On Guard Against Infidelity
- Be accountable. David was eventually accountable, but by that time it was too late. Surround yourself with godly brothers and sisters and have a friend who will ask difficult, pointed questions.
- Fight the good fight of faith. Don’t. Be. A. Victim. Don’t grow passive. So much can be said about passivity alone, but the main point is to pursue righteousness! Are you discouraged? Because passivity and discouragement are partners in crime. Stoke the fires of your heart with passion for the Lord, not the world, and discouragement can’t abide.
- Pursue purity and hold every adverse thought captive. Don’t let your heart and imagination wander into the wasteland of idleness. Put on the armor of God and make every thought submit to the Lordship of Christ.
As we pray for families in the Ashley Madison scandal, be sure to guard your heart. Be honest with your spouse about struggles. Pray honest prayers; God can handle your humanity and He will not leave you to fend for yourself.
What weapons are in your arsenal against sexual sin?