Writing is one of those things that I do to help my think through things. Here are some thoughts that have been running through my head these past few days. I hope they can help you process all unfolding in this age we live in.
Unless you’ve been under a rock recently, you’ve heard about the Ashley Madison hack. It’s something that affected many families, industries, even the military and churches.
There are lists floating around of who is on it, and there are the names. Open for anyone to see. Some spread the lists. Others were afraid to look for fear they knew someone. There it is, all out in the open. To mourn over. To pass along. All there, right there in the open for everyone to see.
So many lives, if not destroyed, forever changed. Right there for all us all to google, search and see, by name or zip code. So many families harmed. So much, right there in front of us.
And as I thought through this, several thoughts came to my mind. But first a word. This is in no way to defend Ashley Madison or those that were part of this site. One of my favorite quotes about sin is something that I read once by Max Lucado, “The reason God hates sin so much is because it destroys His children.” That’s what I see all around in this instance. Sin that destroys so, so, so many lives.
As I have read and thought and prayed, besides the destructive power of sin, a few things have come to my mind.
First, is the notion of public shame. Those whose names are on the list, it’s right there, all out in the open. On the internet. For everyone to see. To laugh at. To mock. To gossip about it. Man, that’s heavy. It’s a heavy thing to have to wear your shame in public. We all make mistakes. But for most of us, our mistakes in private and unless they have harmed others, they are our stories to reveal when we feel necessary. Those caught up in this have lost that. And that is just sad.
Second, and this is something that we all need to know, karma is not a Christian concept. The mainstream idea of karma is this; we get what is coming to us. That’s not what we believe as Christians. It’s just not. All that any of us has coming to us is judgment. We haven’t earned anything other than that. One of my favorite Christian artists, Lecrae raps this in his song Boasting:
Every day that I lie, every moment I covet
I’m deserving to die, I’m just earning your judgment.
I, without the cross there’s only condemnation.
If Jesus wasn’t executed, there’s no celebration.
And later he raps:
God has never been obligated to give us life.
If we fought for our rights, we’d be in hell tonight.
Mere sinners owed nothing but a fierce hand.
We never loved him; we pushed away his pierced hands.
I rejected his love, grace, kindness, and mercy.
Dying of thirst, yet, willing to die thirsty.
Too many Christians talk about karma. That’s just not who we are. We are people of grace. I’ve heard it said, “they got what was coming to them.” Maybe. Sin has a way of coming forth. But don’t we all have what’s coming to us?
And instead of that, don’t we want grace? Yes. Yes, we do. We all deserve judgment. And we all desire grace. And grace is never, ever deserved. That’s why it’s grace.
Grace is always an undeserved, unearned gift. That’s why it’s grace. And it goes to the most undeserving.
And one last thought. We are all broken. All of us. I am. You are. Even the self-righteous broken are still broken. And Jesus died for them too. Jesus died for the individuals on this list. Jesus died even for the ones doing things that offend you and I. That doesn’t mean we’ve got to agree with their actions or condone what they are doing.
But it does mean that we have to understand that Jesus died for all of us, even the most broken among us.
I was talking with some of team today at St. Matthew’s, talking about this and other things and I told them, when I err, I will always err on the side of grace.
So, tonight, pray for families that are broken. Pray for those affected by all of this hurt. And pray for grace to make the broken whole. That’s what God desires to do, heal the broken.
May He heal the brokenness within us, so we can help heal the brokenness of others.