Life is Short. Have an Affair.

A few days ago I started receiving e-mails from AshleyMadison.com. I didn't really pay attention to the first few because I just thought they were ordinary spam e-mails sent from some random furniture or weight loss or whatever kind of company. But then I noticed in one of the emails that it indicated I had an account with them so I looked more closely at the e-mail. At first I thought it must be some type of mistake. But then I realized that AshleyMadison.com is the "Life is short - Have an affair" website that generated so much publicity several months ago for providing a service that allows married people to search for other individuals looking to have an affair.  Suddenly it dawned on me - someone had actually taken the time to set up an account for me! They used my name and birthday as a username - my wife's name as the password - some of my personal information for the profile - and my personal e-mail for the communication. In other words, someone intentionally set up an account in my name on a website that caters to people who have affairs. Do you think someone was trying to make a statement or in some perverted way trying to "catch" me (and I'm sure justify it somehow)?

My first reaction was pity and sadness. After all, what kind of person is so consumed with someone else's sin? What kind of person takes the time to do something like that? Obvious answer - someone so filled with bitterness or anger that they are allowing it to consume their life. Someone so consumed with my sin that they refuse to see the irony that they are committing sin in an effort to "expose" someone else's. Kinda sad huh?

I have had other people take time to list my name on websites that list cheaters. Some of the most common words people google to find out about me include the words affair or adultery or fallen. It is amazing the lengths to which people go to focus on other people's sins.

I wonder what it would look like if we were equally consumed with people's restoration or forgiveness or loving the undeserving.

We love labels. We love tagging people with titles - adulterer, cheater, manipulator - we love pinning names on people. We love reading about other people's failures, sins, weaknesses. We love tabloid Christianity. We love the drama that comes with other people's failures. We love to shoot our wounded.

Here's what God has taught me in my own journey: "Devin focus more on the titles I have given you than what others think about you. Find your identity in me."

Huge question: Is my identity going to be found primarily in my sin or in who I am in Jesus? Don't get me wrong - sin can mark your life.  My sin has marked my life in more ways than you can imagine.  But will I allow my sin to define my life? Big difference.

I want my life to be defined by who I am in Jesus. And here's how Jesus defines me: chosen - loved - accepted - forgiven. To borrow Paul's terminology, I am defined primarily in Christ

Some people may label me as a manipulating adulterer who is on the prowl looking for his next opportunity to cheat through AshleyMadison.com. But that's not how Jesus sees me! Some may view me as a disqualified statistic. But that's not how Jesus sees me! Some may label me as unrepentant or arrogant or self-serving or whatever title we tend to throw at those who have failed. But that's not how Jesus sees me!

There are people in your life who are ready to sign you up for an AshleyMadison account to try and catch you or write you off as a failure or do whatever they can do to remind you of your sin. There are people whose bitterness or anger will consume them and cause them to do perverted things to hurt you. There are people who will say things or do things and not think about your pain or your children. There are people who want to identify you primarily by your sin.

But guess what? There is One who gave His life for you - who died for your sin. There is One who wants your identity to be found in Him. And guess what? He loves you unconditionally - every day & in every way.

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