Since last week, hundreds of people have been exposed through the hacking of Ashley Madison—a website that encourages and facilitates extramarital affairs. The outrage and scandal over those exposed is just one example of how quickly and easily bad news spreads across the Internet.
Our culture loves exposing people’s sins and flaws and gossiping until we’re out of breath.
Well-known Christian figures were not immune to the hack, and one of the biggest news stories to come out so far was that 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar paid for an account on the site.
As I read the headlines about Josh Duggar, and others like him, my heart grieves for them and their families, but I’m also awakened to the reality of what this situation brings to light:
1. Christians are not Immune to Sin of Any Kind
In the comments sections on the most recent news stories, people express shock and disbelief that even people who claim to follow Christ could be seeking to cheat on their spouse.
But as a professional counselor, I see sin at its worst, and I’ve watched it destroy lives and hearts in the process. Those experiences have taught me that just because you’re a Christian, doesn’t mean you’re healthy. If you think these kind of things are not happening in your church, then your eyes are blind to the reality of the world we live in, and the enemy that is out to steal, kill and destroy.
We have the responsibility to choose health and healing in our lives, and that’s something Jesus Christ empowers us to do.
2. The Church Needs to Stop Giving Out Band-Aids and Start Giving Life-Support
We don’t often think of the Christian life as a battle anymore, but it is. If we keep in mind our capacity toward sin and the enemy’s tactics to steal, kill and destroy us, we’ll realize that God’s Word says that we’re in a full-on battle that is “not against flesh and blood.”
We don’t need anymore “motivational talks” from the pulpit. What we need is Spirit-filled, life-giving education and preparation to battle the constant ammunition coming our way. We need to learn how to put on the armor of God in practical and tangible ways. We need to stop avoiding and start talking about the hard topics, because our silence is destroying us.
Let’s start preaching about affairs, about divorce, about pornography, about abuse and about other difficult issues. Let’s repent, confess, learn, heal and grow together as a body of believers. Because, united with Christ, we have the power to overcome and obliterate these enemies.
3. Each One of Us Has Sin to Take Ownership of
One problem in making this issue about Josh Duggar and the other website users is that we use them as scapegoats. In our fear and shame, we’d rather look at and talk about the sins of others rather than turn the mirror on our own hearts and lives.
So what about you? What is the enemy using to ravage your life and your family right now? Is it your anger? Is it your lust? Is it your insecurity? What do you struggle with behind closed doors, when no one is looking?
Let’s get real with where we’re at, bring our sin into the light, and accept God’s grace and healing. Because any sin kept in the dark will continue wreaking havoc on your life.
4. It’s Not Enough to Stop Doing Wrong If You Aren’t Doing Right
My favorite passage of Scripture on this subject is Ephesians 4, where Paul reminds us of this life-changing truth: You can’t expect to stay out of sin if you’re not moving into righteousness instead.
Refraining from sin isn’t enough if you’re not taking the next steps into grace, forgiveness and building healthy habits. The good news is, this isn’t something you have to do on your own—God, in Christ, is the one who transforms your desires and habits. But you do have the responsibility to choose this day who you’re going to serve—and whether you’re going to allow Him into your life to do so.
Get real with who you are and where you’re at and get plugged into a local church, into accountability, community and even professional counseling.
5. Healthy People Make Healthy Relationships
I’m getting sick and tired of our culture’s attempt to fix “marriages” across our country, without actually fixing individuals first. Marriages are suffering because the individual people within those marriages are broken, bruised and in need of healing.
We bring all our baggage and our junk into marriage, and then we’re surprised when it rears its ugly head. But I can guarantee you that all your junk will be multiplied and magnified within the pressure cooker of marriage.
Christians, let’s not be naive—the very things you struggle with while standing alone will be the very things you eventually struggle with in the context of your marriage.
Whether you are single, married or somewhere in-between, there is no better time than this to look inward and allow God to open your eyes to the things you need to work out in your life—and then to actually do something about it.
Whoever you are and whatever it is you are struggling with, may God give each one of us the strength, courage and grace to come out of our sin and move into His healing.
This article originally appeared on truelovedates.com. Used with permission.
Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor, relationship expert, speaker and author of several books, including True Love Dates. Debra is also the creator of the popular relationship advice blog TrueLoveDates.com, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.