AshleyMadison.com is in the news. If you hadn’t heard, it’s the go-to website for married folks interested in a “discreet encounter”. The tagline is “Life is short. Have an affair,” and in the fine print, it says, “Ashley Madison is the most recognized and reputable married dating company.” (By the way, you’re supposed to laugh out loud at the irony of a “reputable married dating company.”) But alas, AshleyMadison was hacked, and if a user’s cheating heart wasn’t clever enough to put in a non-traceable email address (you know, one without a name in it), their “secret” life was exposed. Sadly, suicides and divorces are happening all around.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks insightfully about secrets and human nature in his sermon, “Facing Reality,” based on Jeremiah 17:9…
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (ESV)
“There are certain things of which we never speak to anyone except ourselves. Has this final and ultimate loneliness of your own nature and personality ever struck you? We are born into families and communities and yet how markedly individual we all are. We have secrets that our parents, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and children will never know and never discover. When someone tells you that he or she has told you all his or her secrets you can always be sure that that is never the case. However frank and open a person may be there is always something which is held back and reserved.
“…All the time that we continue being satisfied with the thought that these secret actions, thoughts and ideas of ours are unknown to anyone but ourselves, we forget the presence and the existence of God.…We can hoodwink and fool the whole world, can appear as one thing before it and be in reality something else, but how vain and foolish it is to do so. What is the point and object of doing that when all the time God knows the full facts about us?
“…Is it surprising that the prophet should have prayed, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved”? He had suddenly realized what a fraud his life was and how unsatisfactory it was, and prayed to be released from it once and for all. No longer content with fooling and satisfying others, this man faced himself and God. He looked at himself in the mirror and was horrified. There was nothing solid in his life, nothing lasting, nothing on which he could depend.
“…Oh, that we also might see ourselves as this man saw himself. Oh, that we might see the madness of thinking that we are clever and smart when we are not found out. Oh that we might see the deception and trickery that is within our own souls, and above all, see that our case is so desperate, our plight so terrible that there is no human agency which can save us and rid us of our baser nature. For it is only those people who have realized all that who utter this prayer and who, having prayed it, are healed and saved to all eternity through and by the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
– Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The Apostle Paul’s AshleyMadison-type life
The Apostle Paul would have agreed. He looked inside…and he saw the AshleyMadison-type sewage. No, not sexual immorality, I suppose, just murder and that sort of thing. Anyway, he called himself the foremost sinner, or as the King James puts it, the “chief.” But praise God, Paul said more than that…
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15, 16 (ESV)
Maybe you’ve never been to AshleyMadison.com, or then again, maybe you have; either way, today you might be thinking that your secrets are worse than everyone else’s. If so…think again. Paul the blasphemer and Christian killer said his secrets and openly evil deeds were on record as the worst. And yet when he repented and placed his faith in Christ, he was gloriously saved as an example for the rest of us with sludge in our souls.