How Should We React To Ashley Madison?
August 29, 2015 I just read “My Pastor Is On The Ashley Madison List”, Ed Stetzers most recent response in Christianity Today to news that has the Christian world reeling. According to the article, likely hundreds of Pastors and Ministers will be resigning this week after being outed on the list of customers for a spousal cheating website. Ed does not mention other church leaders or members but the numbers are likely to be staggering. I suspect very large numbers of churches will be reeling from the scandal tomorrow. I would like to address the church first and then the ones involved. These posts will be longer than most, so I pray you will hang with me.
First of all, church, realize this is not just a failure of a bunch of individuals. It is a failure of us all. Have we really done everything we can to “see to it that no one is sexually immoral” (Heb. 12:15-16)? The wording here is in the strongest form of command, to all of the readers, It is the duty of every Christian. Admit we have failed our brothers and sisters caught here in sin.
Secondly, realize we are all guilty. Maybe not of adultery, but of gossip, lust, wrath, lying, complaint, pride or one (likely more) of a host of other sins. Remember Jesus’ words “Let the one without sin throw the first stone.” But also remember his last words to the adulterer after telling her he did not condemn her, “Go and sin no more”. It is our responsibility to help them to find victory over their sin. Take note of Gal. 6:1,2, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill tthe law of Christ.” Restoration is bringing them to a good state before God and the local body of Christ and it is our burden.
Next, build in some accountability for them. I met with an elder weekly after my affair and greatly appreciated his help and encouragement. If pornography is involved (highly likely) offer to have someone knowledgeable enough go through their computer and printed material with them and get rid of it. Suggest they Install covenant eyes or similar program on their computer and make their spouse and someone spiritual as accountability partners. Also work out the circumstances they are allowed back in the pulpit. But with how you go about these, keep in mind this: “Will I really want to pray the Lord’s prayer with it’s “forgive me as I forgive others” after this?
Lastly, realize, undoubtedly the enemy of our souls has been at work here. The world will point and say “See, I knew those Christians were a bunch of hypocrites.” But they may take notice if our response is filled with love, understanding and real help. Use the last component of the armor of God in Ephesians 6, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” This must be one of the greater times for this need. Kent