“The Things Done in Secret”
AshleyMadison.com launched a web site in 2001 as a place for people, in ostensibly committed relationships to go if they wanted to cheat on their spouse or significant other. Their marketing slogan was “Life is short. Have an affair.” The additional allure was the promise of anonymity/secrecy. Alas, once again the things done in secret were shouted from the housetops. The Ashley Madison database was hacked. Their records were distributed in the public domain. This time the national expose of secret sins has not resulted in the shaming of anyone who is particularly well known. Josh Duggar was the only person ‘outted’ of whom I had heard and I would not have known his name except for his public confession, a few weeks earlier, to the molestation of his little sisters during his teen years.
Rather, this time the dark shroud of immorality has been stripped away exposing the sad lies and secret lives of a staggering 30,000,000 individuals who are mostly regular folks. The population of the United States is only 310,000,000! This means one in ten people in our country were implicated in this scandal. It means that no matter who you are, you probably know someone who has pursued this quest to experience marital or relational unfaithfulness. For some it is just a fantasy, you say? They would never act on their fantasy, you say? Listen up, if you shop, there is no guarantee you won’t buy. If you flirt, there is no guarantee you won’t seduce or be seduced. If you chase a fantasy, you will probably capture it, sooner or later. For many, their secret life of shame became common knowledge.
During the same week as the Ashley Madison hack, an Old Dominion University fraternity made the news by welcoming new female students and their fathers to the campus with garish black letters scrawled on white bed sheets hanging from frat house balconies, “Freshman daughter drop off” and “Drop off mom too”.
An ominous harbinger of the very real danger faced by college girls, 25% of whom, according to a survey of graduating seniors girls done by the University of Iowa, were subjected to sexual molestation, sexual abuse or date rape during their four years of college. So, dads, entrusted with the protection of and provision for your daughters, what do you think of these odds?
I remember the late 60’s and the ‘free love’ movement in the culture. It was dubbed the ‘sexual revolution.’ Ed Stetzer is right, “A revolution means that a war is being fought. In revolutions, bombs are dropped, attacks are launched and there are thousands of casualties. Sadly, today the war is being waged against the way of Jesus; that marriage is between a man and a woman, becoming one flesh, in one marriage, in one sexual relationship, for one lifetime.” For those who have failed to follow the Jesus way, His cross stands in time and space as a tangible reminder that regardless, a way was still made.
So, if you were on the list, or know someone who was, four words in order: Brokenness. Forgiveness. Wholeness. Righteousness. In closing, here is an infinitely better slogan than Ashley Madison’s: Psalm 90:12, “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.”