John Gibson was a pastor and seminary professor who also happened to have his name on the list of customers that utilized the Ashley Madison website, a "business" that is all about connecting people to have an affair. A few weeks after the site was hacked and clients information was dumped and made public, Pastor John Gibson killed himself, leaving behind his wife and two kids. His wife said it wasn't something they couldn't have worked through, and there was forgiveness for this betrayal, but Pastor John couldn't extend the forgiveness that he preached and taught about to himself.
I've read hateful words directed at the patrons of the Ashley Madison website. People have equated karma with female dogs in regards to these unfaithful low-lifes. Even Dr. Phil has wished for them to get what's coming to them. But should any of these cases end in death? Not that Dr. Phil implied hoping for such doom, but many want them to pay dearly for their actions.
I get that. People have been lied to, betrayed, led to believe life was one way when it was really another. They are hurting, their trusters have been demolished, lives turned upside down. My wife equates it with their personal Twin Towers crumbling. It is traumatic. And they deserve healing, the truth, and amends.
I see the perpetrators a little differently. Yes, their actions caused devastation, major riffs in relationships, and for those who are of a certian faith and "men of the cloth," the label "hypocrite" is very appropriate. However, I see brokenness in the Ashley Madison patron, especially among those who call themselves pastors. There are deep wounds that would cause one to behave in a way that is contrary to their morals and belief systems. There has to be major pain that would cause them to risk, at the very least, hurting their spouse, and at the worst, losing their marriage and ministry. But people who are broken can be restored. Marriages that have imploded can be rebuilt. Lives can be redeemed, if one is willing to work for it. That is the business God has called my wife and me to. And He is a professional Redeemer. We are priviledged to witness it in the couples we counsel, and we have experienced it fisthand in our own lives.
I am constantly praying for the minister who hasn't received yet the help he/she needs. Unfortunately, most people don't reach out unless they're caught. But I believe for every broken person that comes into the light, there are 50 you don't see. And we are waiting in the wings to be of assistance.
I'm praying the Holy Spirit will use this post to bring someone into the process of redemption and break the powerful hold that deadly shame can have on one's soul. Broken lives matter, too.