Thirty seven million — That’s the number of marriages, families, and possibly careers affected by the hacking of the adultery website, Ashley Madison. There may be no way for all of us on-lookers to know the full extent of the devastation and shame this sin has caused individuals who believed their online indiscretions would remain online, but one thing is for sure: As more information is made public, more and more sectors of our communities will have to investigate their members.
So far, at least 15,000 Ashley Madison accounts were connected to .gov email addresses. The Associated Press found that just under 1,000 federal employees, including those with security clearance, had accounts. Federal employees working for the Justice Department, the State Department, the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and even the executive office of the President had accounts on a website specifically designed for committing adultery. We’re talking about individuals with access to information that could make them a threat to national security if they were blackmailed. And why? For a chance to be unfaithful to their spouse.
Many, myself included, are saddened by the daily updates. We just can’t believe people actually signed up to cheat on their spouse. We’re not talking about a “one thing led to another” defense; we’re talking about pre-meditated, pre-planned, and pre-paid “opportunities” to commit adultery.
For those of us in the Christian community, none of the revelations has been more shocking than that of Joshua Duggar’s having not one, but two accounts. If I’m honest, it just felt like a devastating blow to the Christian conservative movement. There’s been a target on the backs of all pro-family activists for some time; it comes with the territory. But when Christians provide opportunity for the enemies of God to mock Him and His people, it is, of course, especially hard.
There may be no end to the Josh Duggar commentary. So many people feel compelled or obligated to release statements and make comments on the matter, but the Christian community needs to realize something: Ashley Madison is not a Duggar problem. We’re not talking about another high-profile, public Christian who had a moral failing. Remember — just a few weeks ago, we were discussing Tullian Tchividjian, the former pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and his affair, which he said was the result of his wife cheating on him first. By the way, Tchividjian has filed for divorce from his wife.
So, if we’re not talking about high-profile failures or celebrity slip-ups, then what are we talking about? We’re talking about a growing problem in the Church. Christian men and women have major struggles with sexual sin, and it goes largely unaddressed.
Last October, American Family Association’s OneNewsNow.com ran a story that addressed what should have been the startling statistics of Christian men not only addicted to pornography, but also guilty of committing adultery.
According to a national survey commissioned by Proven Men Ministries and conducted by the Barna Group in 2014, 55 percent of married Christian men “look at pornography at least once a month, and 35 percent cheated on their spouses in an extramarital affair.”
Over half of Christian men surveyed view pornography at least once a month! 35 percent admitted to cheating on their wife! This is a problem, Church.
But when a story like Josh Duggar’s hits the news, we shake our heads and breathe a collective sigh of relief that he isn’t someone we know personally… like our pastor or youth leader. But isn’t he? Josh Duggar is the face of 55 percent of Christian men. That means whether they were exposed by hackers or not, some of our pastors and leaders are viewing porn on Friday and preaching morality to us on Sunday. We should all mourn.
Consider the fact that Joshua Duggar had a career, respect, and most importantly a family that loved and supported him, and he threw it all away for sin. Oh, yes — Josh Duggar is in the Church, and he hides out there, empowered to spiral into an eternity of destruction because we in the Body of Christ have not consistently addressed sexual sin.
The Church must call Christian men and women to greater accountability. Purity is not just a rallying call for youth groups. Purity is for every believer. Holiness is still the requirement for those of us who are in Christ. I’m convinced that every believer needs a Paul and a Timothy in his or her life. We all need someone pouring into us daily, challenging us to be godly and to eradicate sin in all of its forms. In like manner, we all need someone into whom we are pouring. We should have a younger believer in the faith whom we are helping to grow and to live free from sin.
A day is coming when all that we’ve done will be laid bare, and it won’t be at the hands of hackers. No — the God who judges the living and the dead teaches us that “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)