Sunday, August 21, 2016

Remembering the Ashley Madison Scandal: The Consequences of Sin

Last year, the country was rocked by the Ashley Madison scandal. On this date in 2015, I posted the following article on Since the powers that be have decided to pull the plug on that website and remove the content from the internet, I am re-posting the article here.

Ashley Madison cheaters include local officials: your sin will find you out

The internet is awash will news about the hack on Ashley Madison, the website whose mantra is "Life is short. Have an affair." Recently it was revealed the hack uncovered hundreds of federal employees used government computers to access their paid accounts at the website for cheaters. This raises concerns those in sensitive positions might be blackmailed, potentially compromising government secrets.

The list revealed by the hack includes military email addresses, which the Pentagon is said to be looking into. Adultery is potentially a court-marshable offense. White House and Homeland Security computers were also used to access the website.

Local media is reporting the hack has also implicated a local official and some non-elected workers. The South Bend Tribune reports a South Bend Clerk used a government computer to access the site, and email addresses linked to the city of Mishawaka were also used. Investigations into the matter are being conducted by both cities. WSBT reports email addresses from some Indiana law-enforcement agencies, including The State Police and the Attorney General's office, were also involved.
Earlier this week, it was discovered Josh Duggar of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting fame was among the myriads of account users on the Ashley Madison site. On the Duggar family website, Josh released a statement, which reads:

I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife. I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him. I have brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions. The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures. As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all the hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example. I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.

There is a verse of scripture which may come to mind when Christians hear about names being revealed in this scandal. The last phrase of Numbers 32:23 (KJJV) reads, " sure your sin will find you out." However, this often misquoted verse does not say, "people will find out about your sin." There are many things which will never be revealed until judgement day—"the day when God judges people’s secrets." (Romans 2:16 NIV) The context is when the children of Israel are about to invade the promised land. The two and a half tribes were tempted to remain beyond the Jordan river and not help their brothers take the land. But God tells them that would be sin, and sooner or later they would have to face the consequences of that sin. The verse is not talking about someone finding out about the sin, but the consequences they would face. (Some might call that karma.)

Sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is that our sin is revealed. If the statements by Jared Fogle's lawyer can be taken at face value, the revelation of child porn on his computer could be the beginning of the healing of his soul. It is easy to go on letting our secrets gradually destroy us when nobody knows. Family and friends may be kept from the hurt for a time, but the hidden sin gradually eats you alive and twists your spirit. Hopefully this huge scandal will lead to many getting their lives back on track. That should be our hope and prayer.

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