Home Pastors Articles for Pastors “I’m on the Ashley Madison List. Now What?”

“I’m on the Ashley Madison List. Now What?”

No matter how large the offense looms before you, suicide is not the way to confront your failure.

Let’s be blunt: Your actions at Ashley Madison hurt the people you love. Don’t hurt them again—and more.

What Then?

What, then, are we to do? What do you do when the secret is out? When your spouse’s eyes are emptied of tears and throat hoarse from shouting? When your children are confused and sitting in their rooms? When your church waits to find out if that name is really you?

The fact is, you have been caught. You are outed. And, it is going to hurt people—but taking your own life will hurt them far more. You see, people will still find out after you are gone. This news is not going away anytime soon. The pain of the sin is present whether you’re alive or not. Don’t make matters worse by not being around to do what you can to repair it.

There will be pain, and it is your fault. You can’t blame Satan, your boss or your inattentive spouse. Marital frustrations are not permission slips for adultery. Even if you only paid the membership and never actually hooked up with someone, some damage is done. Ashley Madison didn’t cause this. Hackers didn’t cause this. If you sowed this ground, you will reap the corrupt fruit of your labors.

Still, do not give up. Throw yourself on God’s mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Remember, it was the woman caught in the very act of adultery to whom Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.”
No matter how large the offense looms before you, suicide is not the way to confront your failure.

You’re on the list?

If you are on the list, maybe you are not sure what to do. Well, let me make some suggestions.

1. Get right with God.

I don’t say this tritely.

Fall on your face, and cry out to Him in repentance and faith. The exact same grace that saves also forgives. The relationship is intact, but the fellowship is broken. Confess it to God, forsake it and He will forgive.

No matter what others think about you following this failure, you can have confidence the blood of Jesus saves you.

2. Cast everything on Him.

It isn’t possible for you to know what will happen next, so you must trust Him implicitly. You will need to confess, and when you do, you are taking a risk.

It may very well get worse before it gets better, but none of it will catch God by surprise. Joining Ashley Madison grieved God, but it didn’t sneak up on Him. This is the wrong time to entertain dreams of “being used in a bigger and better way for the Kingdom.”

Now is the time to commit yourself humbly to His purposes whatever they may be.

3. Confess to your spouse.

Yes, the falls into the “Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done” category. But, you must come completely and thoroughly clean. Continuing to hide is not the way to victory.

And, this is not the time to rationalize. Don’t think, “It might hurt him or her more if I said that I only signed up but did not have an affair.” If that’s true, your sin is still grievous. But don’t pretend—the light is on and it’s time for you to walk into it.
No matter what others think about you following this failure, you can have confidence the blood of Jesus saves you.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.