Our family was in Charleston when I first read the news about the Ashley Madison hack. When our clan was stuffed together in a hotel room and I was reading news on my phone as they young ones fell asleep, I came across this story and was blown away.
If you haven’t heard the story, here’s the rundown:
Ashley Madison is designed to help married people cheat on their spouses.
Its slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.”
The website claims to have nearly 39 million customers.
People can browse the site for free, but they have to pay for credits if they want to send messages to other members of the dating site. Customers who buy 1,000 credits for $250 receive a money-back “affair guarantee,” if they don’t have an affair within three months.
The Hackers’ Goal
Unknown hackers breached the internet security and stole all the personal information for the entire list of clients. Their request?
Shut down this website or else we will release the information.
I tried to imagine who was behind this breach. What was their motivation? I usually commend people for innovative techniques to accomplish a task, but this tactic was out-of-the-box conventionally.
The “Impact Team” said they would release “profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,” if the site was not shut down.
The company’s response was: “This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality. It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com. The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society.”
Did you catch that? An organization that was formed to help married people commit adultery is lecturing someone for their unethical behavior.
In the last few weeks, Ashley Madison has scrambled to cover up the exposed places but would not give into the hackers’ demands.
It was bound to happen, and it finally did. The hackers released the information.
As groups are scouring through the information to see who famous and local have used that site, the proverbial other shoe is about to drop.
Granted, I am reading where experts are worried with the list due to the possibility that someone could use another’s email address to start the process.
I have also read where a divorce lawyer actually commented that this was the best news for their business “since the 7th commandment.”
We live in a sick world.
The implications are immense. Honestly, I am torn.
- Family Members – For the family members who are about to find out disturbing information, I am absolutely broken. There will be devastated people around the globe to find out about these secret lives. It will hurt. It will forever change many families. For those people devastated, I truly pray for comfort and healing in the days to come.
- Adulterers – For those who have bought into the lie that “life is short, have an affair,” I want to introduce another tagline that I wish you would have heeded earlier: “whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”
The company that brought us “life is short, have an affair” is now learning “whatever a man sows, this he will reap.”
I think the old preacher-ism applies here well:
Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.
Now is a time for brokenness, humility, and repentance. Your life will be forever changed but it is not over. God is a God of second chances. Turn around and change.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. -Galatians 6:7-8
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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