This came from one of the men in a Bible study I attend and it was too good not to share.
The recent hack of Ashley Madison, the adultery website, has produced a lot of angst. Not the least of which, however, is the complaint of the damage caused by the hack and the subsequent revelations. Others lament the shame now brought on to people because they choose to live to a different set of values.
They are missing the point, but, you already knew that. Numbers 32:23 says, “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.” This is from a specific context in Numbers, but I’m sure it has a legitimate universal application. We are not the arbiters of what is and is not a sin.
Clearly there are those outside the body of Christ, and probably inside as well, who think they can conceal their actions and have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Not so fast there.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
Psalm 139: 7-12
If we can’t escape God’s piercing gaze in the depths of hell or Davy Jones’ Locker, what expectation can we have that a little data encryption and a password will put us beyond his reach?
The people who resent the hack of Ashley Madison, but not the conduct that put people in the middle of that hack, are typical of the world. They want freedom without judgment, actions without consequences. Ironically, that freedom extends to the freedom to be secretive and not be exposed, even though they see nothing wrong with what they do…or do they?
We all know John 3:16, but reading a few verses beyond gives us this,
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Why is it that most — there will always be exhibitionists — who think that what they do is acceptable (for them), want to keep it hidden in the dark? In Revelation 6, the great and the small who wanted to hide from God’s judgment were so desperate that they wanted the mountains to “fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne.” Their distress was not directed at what they had done, but who was holding them accountable.
My dog does that, too. If I grab him by the scruff of his neck when he’s not doing what I want him to do, he howls and whines, not at any pain or injury, but at the simple action of being made to do what he doesn’t want to do. His overreaction is somewhat comical. Methinks he doth protest too much (a Shakespearean paraphrase).
Everybody knows when they’ve done wrong. It’s one of the downsides of “knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:22). Knowing good and evil is one thing. Being able to do anything about it is entirely a different matter…and it’s where we fail so miserably.
Before there was Shakespeare, there was God and this verse sounds like something straight out of one of the Bard’s plays:
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34
It’s an interesting admonition there: “wake up”. Stop fooling around with things that are legally permissible, but not beneficial. If they were only neutral, we might actually think they were worth it. But there are darned few places of genuine neutrality.
There are those whose names were exposed by the Ashley Madison hack who claim, maybe rightly, that while they signed up, they never did anything with it. Maybe, but imagine having to explain that to your wife / husband and kids. Hanging around with the “bad company” of Ashley Madison has consequences or, as Benjamin Franklin is attributed as saying, “if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” Even if they weren’t your fleas and even if you didn’t bring them to the party, the consequences of having fleas are all the same.
The complaint that the hack revelations are destructive miss, and dismiss, the root cause. Yes, families, relationships, and careers will be damaged and maybe destroyed because of the exposure. However, the real villain here is not the hack, but the behavior. People who didn’t go to the Ashley Madison website have nothing to fear from the hack. Those who did deliberately placed themselves and others in harms way long before the hack