When did you first hear about Ashley Madison?
If you're like most people, it was in the past month as the email hacking scandal was breaking.
Not me. I’ve known about Ashley Madison for a couple of years. Where did I learn about the notorious website for people who want to have an affair? On cable news and Christian blogs.
I wasn’t looking to have an affair. I was just keeping up on the news. But suddenly, thanks to a Christian blog, I knew about a website that told me "Life is short. Have an affair." And the front door was literally at my fingertips.
Relax, this is not a confession. I didn’t go to the website. Not even for “research” or “to know how to pray better.”
I have a happy marriage and I've never even considered cheating on my wife. The very idea makes me nauseous.
And even if it didn't, I wouldn't.
Does Emphasizing Sin Unintentionally Promote Sin?
Yesterday I read the tragic story of a pastor committing suicide after his account was discovered on the now notorious email list.
My heart broke. For him, his church, his family and especially his wife who now has to live with a double horror.
But it also made me wonder. Where did all these pastors, and many other seemingly upright family men, first hear about a website for cheaters?
I’m guessing most of them didn’t suddenly decide to Google “website for married men who want to have an affair." Some of them must have heard about it like I did. Through blogs and news outlets warning us about this sleazy, but obscure website.
They probably tsk-tsked it along with the TV host or blogger – raising Ashley Madison's profile with every tsk.
Then, alone one night in a moment of sinful weakness, they remembered the blog or news video, so they went back to it and grabbed the website address.
When it comes to sin, especially sexual sin, the old saying is true: there's no such thing as bad publicity. Until the email list is exposed.
Be Careful How We Talk About Sin
Here's a thought. If the first time most of the audience is hearing about a sin is from us denouncing it, we may not need to bring it up.
Telling people about Ashley Madison before this recent scandal broke was like walking into an AA meeting and yelling, “Hey! There’s a new liquor store three doors down, having a two-for-one sale! Isn’t that awful?”