Month: August 2015

Your Heart will be Hacked: Why God’s List is More Devastating than Ashley Madison’s

Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware of the recent Ashley Madison hack, which resulted in scores of people being exposed for pursuing adulterous activities. You’re also probably aware that some well-known individuals professing commitment to Christ have been found on the list. While much could be said (and has been said) on the issue, I’d like to take a different angle as we consider what God may be doing in the midst of it.

Matthew 10:26 says that “nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” In a similar vein, Luke 8:17 says, “for nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

My heart hurts for the countless wives, husbands, children, and others whose lives are being devastated by learning of adultery. Just one sin, but innumerable wounds and implications, like a rock thrown into water whose ripple effects go on for miles.

Yet at the same time, I’ve been thinking about how the hack has had tremendous implications, while centering on just one area of sin. If so much humiliation, shame, pain, destruction, and despair can result from one sin being uncovered, that serves as just a tiny preview of the judgment that every single person will someday face before God. Revelation 20:12-15 tells us, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done…and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done…and if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

It is staggering to think that just as Google keeps eerily comprehensive data on us, God is doing so infinitely more. Every thought. Every word. Every action. Every attitude. Every day. All day. Many years ago, I remember trying to teach my 7th grade Bible class about the enormity of sin. I told them to consider if they just sinned ONCE a day for their entire lives. Now, one sin a day is a GROSS understatement, but following that line of thought, a person would rack up 365 violations against God every year. For the sake of argument, let’s assume the person lived until they were 70. This would mean upon their death, they would face God as He pulls out a list of 25,550 sins, one by one, for which they must give account, for which they are responsible, and which must be paid. Staggering.

So as I search for God’s mercy and kindness on display toward mankind in the Ashley Madison hack, here’s what I see. For the unbeliever, I see the kindness of God meant to lead them to repentance. A window of opportunity through which to see that nothing is hidden that will not come to light, that judgment is real and inevitable, and that outside of Christ, it is a terrifying and damning situation they face. May many flee to Christ before their heart is completely hacked on the final day.

For the believer, I see a few truths on display. First, rather than pointing the finger at others, may we turn it around on ourselves. May we consider the areas of OUR lives that if hacked and put on display in the public arena, would bring dishonor to the name of Jesus. May we with new vigor seek to kill the sin within, remembering that true religion is to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27). And second, may our hearts ignite with fresh gratitude and awe at the absolute grace of God to save us from the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of the sins that we commit against Him, because Jesus Christ the righteous was found innocent and blameless. Completely above reproach. No skeletons in his closet. No deceit or uncleanness to be hacked. If every corner of Jesus’ house and every corner of Jesus’ heart was intensely scrutinized by the piercing purity of God (and it was), the search would uncover nothing but perfect obedience and submission to the Father, and perfect love for his fellow man. And because of His great love, Jesus took the shame and punishment for our hack-worthy hearts and lives, while at the same time imparting his perfect record and unhackable heart to us. One can only echo the words of the apostle Paul, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Advertisements

God is Not a Gentleman

There’s a strange sentiment I’ve heard repeated many times that goes something like this: “God is a gentleman. He won’t force His way into your life, but just waits patiently for you to come to Him.” It sounds nice at face value. After all, being a gentleman is a good thing. It conveys a certain refinement, thoughtfulness, well-roundedness, skill at interpersonal relationships, and to state the obvious, someone who is “gentle” and not brash, harsh, rough, insensitive, or crass. And certainly, God IS gentle. His gentleness makes us great (Psalm 18:35), and Jesus is gentle and humble in heart to those who are crushed by the burden of trying to earn salvation or crushed by the difficulties of life in a fallen world (Matthew 11:28-30). Praise God for His gentleness!

But when it comes to salvation, I praise God that He is NOT a gentleman…at least not like the quote would have it! If God was a gentleman in that sense, we would all be lost in our sin forever and never come to a knowledge of the truth. Yes, He is patient for His people to reach repentance, and our eternal well-being depends on that patience. Yet if God sat back and just waited for us to be smart enough to see our own sin, or intelligent enough to cure our own spiritual blindness, or strong enough to overcome our own flesh, we’d all perish with that kind of “gentleman.” The Apostle Paul is probably pretty glad that God was not a “gentleman” with him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Lot is probably pretty glad that God’s angels yanked him away from Sodom when he was lingering in his desire to stay behind (Genesis 19). The disciples are probably pretty glad that Jesus didn’t say, “Hey, maybe possibly consider following Me when you’re ready and it seems like a good idea to you, because I really want to be a gentleman to you guys” but rather commanding, “Follow Me (Mark 1:17).”

And that is one of the reasons that God is so wonderful. Perfect gentleness meets perfect sovereignty and authority. Praise God that He is gentle, and praise God that He is not always a gentleman.