While reading all the developing news stories yesterday and last evening I kind of got a bit overwhelmed with all the BAD news. From fires to arrests to hacked documents to vile videos about abortion. Sometimes I think I just want to stick my head in the Happy Sand and pretend none of the wickedness is going on all around me and my loved ones. Clearly that would be irresponsible but it's so very tempting.
So then... Ashley Madison. By now everyone's heard all about it. Including girls or women actually named, "Ashley Madison". Imagine that special kind of awkward.
A few thoughts.
When I first heard the client data had been released by hackers, my very first thought was GOOD! Followed by thoughts of how every single subscriber deserved absolutely every kind of devastation and humiliation coming to them. From marital, to financial, to career and more. All of it. Boom. Justice. Done!
But that was my flesh thinking, not my heart. Really, when you think about all the stupid, awful, dumb things any of us have done (you, me, your spouse, your kids, my kids) and hoped would never come out for public consumption, we're kind of all AM Subscribers in a way. Obviously we're not all looking to cheat on our spouses but we've all got our own private, personal junk that we'd never want the world to know. If we're Christians, we've already dealt with it with the Lord and that's as far as we'd want it to ever go. Ever. So in a way, I had to sort of back-track on my "ha, you get what you deserve you cheating pig!" mindset. I'm all about justice, but I'm also eternally grateful for God's grace and mercy and that same grace and mercy extended to me from other believers who know full well there own sin isn't any prettier than mine.
In discussing it with my husband we talked about the children of these cheating husbands, their wives, and extended families and how they certainly didn't deserve the coming humiliation, and how they were the real victims in all this. I CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE.
So, it was good to read this last night from Dustin Germain from The Reformed Pub. These days, not much shocks me but I will say I was very disheartened and disappointed to learn Josh Duggar's name was on that list of subscribers. I shared my thoughts on the whole Duggar fiasco here and here back in June. Some (wrongfully) assumed I was defending Josh Duggar so I suppose I fall into the camp (mentioned in the Reformed Pub's blog post) of the 3rd group of people. I do want to take exception to a part of it however:
"Finally there will be the family of Christ who defended him while acknowledging his sin. They will be heartbroken. They stood up for him as a Christian who sinned greatly in his youth but who had been restored in mercy and grace, and now they will be stung and embarrassed at having done so, often passionately in the face of skepticism and doubt. Even the very act of sticking up for a child molester tested and strained the forgiveness they were willing to extend, and yet they assumed and trusted the best even though all they had to go on was his word and some fruit they saw him bear. This was because they recognized the power of the gospel to actually change lives, evidenced by their own, and they believed that Christ again had done another miracle in regeneration. Now though, in place of that hope, there is a strange, disquieting sadness."
What I posted back in June wasn't actually a defense of Josh Duggar but more of an appeal for folks to really think about their attitudes about the whole thing, in the factual context of how things happened. Despite that, I'm not at all embarrassed for what I said then. Disappointed? Absolutely. Heartbroken for his wife and children, and siblings? No question about it. It's a very shameful thing to be outed as a hypocrite, and that shame extends directly to one's closest loved ones.
I really liked the closing segment of this same post which starts out "So what are we to do?" PRAY. For Josh's wife, his children, his family, his victims and for Josh himself. I would simply add, that we might pray about our own attitudes when we read something like this. We're all so bent on justice for wrongs (and that's not a bad thing at all) when it comes to things like this but I think sometimes we forget "Josh Duggar" could be anyone. You, me, your spouse or your kid. Calling his sin for what it is, is fair and right. But sometimes I think we're all just a little too eager for under-the-bus justice for others, when we're so thankful we received grace instead.
Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth.