In case you haven't heard, the adultery-promoting website whose motto is "Life Is Short-Have an Affair" has been hacked. The names and contact info of clients(?) has been published.
This kind of story is low hanging fruit for anyone who wants to rail against adultery. The site is disgusting. It plays to some of the very worst impulses people have. It promotes the myth that if no one knows then no one is harmed, and ignores the far deeper truth that any sin is a spiritual poison, first to the sinner and then to the family or larger social circle. There are no victimless sins.
Like any of the recent big stories, however, I want to know how the gospel addresses a situation. The gospel has something to say to people on all sides of an issue, the perpetrators, victims, and the casual observers. In the case of Ashley Madison we have a perfect illustration from the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11.
This woman was an adulteress. Jesus did not say she was innocent. She was guilty as charged, and the fact that she may have been set up doesn't absolve her. Jesus' response also was not "it doesn't matter" or "everyone does it." Instead He proclaimed a scandalous, puzzling, amazing grace.
I see three applications of the gospel to our present situation.
First, adultery is harmful. We often hear from evolutionary biologists that adultery is in our genes. I doubt any spouse of an evolutionary biologist would accept that as an excuse. Adultery is wrong and harmful. To suggest otherwise is a non-starter.
Second, with the hacking of the site this has become a gross and obvious sin, as opposed to my much more private sins. The gospel tells me that I need saving just as much or more than the woman, or anyone else, caught in adultery. I endorse Dolly Parton's theology, who when asked about some tawdry rumors replied, "Hell, I've either done it or I'm capable of it."
Third, drops the rocks. Jesus specifically and repeatedly warned us against judging, and if that doesn't apply here, then where? And those rocks sometimes take the form of feeling just a little bit smug and superior that your name wasn't on that list. Just drop the rocks. All of them.