For the Single Woman Affected by Ashley Madison

I was greatly encouraged by my friend Erin Davis' blog post about Ashley Madison specifically encouraging married women as they respond to this scandal. After hearing how sin is being exposed in so many men's lives, it drew my heart to pray for my single sisters who will be tempted to fear, to build walls, and to become bitter against men because of this news.

As a thirty-something single woman, may I challenge my single sisters in the wake of this scandal?

God eventually brought me to the place where I began to realize that I was no different than the failing men around me. I had the same capacity to sin.

When I was in my early teens, two men in well-known Christian circles that I respected committed adultery and did not repent. They left their families and a host of friends stunned and in disbelief of their sin and their lack of repentance.

At that time, I was young. I was dogmatic. And I did something I should have never done. I told myself a few things—a few lies—and I believed them.

  • "All men are like those men."
  • "All men will hurt me."
  • "I don't want to get married if it means that a man will cheat on me and hurt me in this way."

The Path of Bitterness

I believed these statements for a long time. I became bitter toward all men and also the men in my life. This wreaked havoc on otherwise perfectly good male relationships that God had given me. As a teenager, I was bitter and I was prideful. And I began building walls around my heart.

I became resentful toward marriage. In conversations with close friends and family, I slandered marriage. I did not uphold it as "holy" or "sacred" or even as a God-ordained institution. In my heart, I despised it.

But in God's grace and mercy, He convicted me of my sin. The sin of pride. The sin of bitterness. The sin of self-conceit. Over time, I began to realize that I had sinned against my brothers in Christ. They didn't have a chance. They were all adulterers in my mind—when in reality, they weren't. God eventually brought me to the place where I began to realize that I was no different than the failing men around me. I had the same capacity to sin. I had the same capacity to have a "whoring heart," to leave the amazing, faithful, extravagant love of Christ and to pursue other "lovers"—namely self-love and self-preservation.

I repented, and I found God's mercy for the sin of judgment I had committed against my brothers in Christ and against God's institution of marriage. And God in His kindness gave me forgiveness and freedom from that old way of thinking.

A Different Road

Years later, I experienced "Round Two" of this test. My life was again significantly impacted by the sexual sin of a Christian leader. This time, it was at a much deeper, much more personal level, and I'll be honest, it shook my world.

Jesus Christ is faithful and true. He will never have an affair on me. He will never forsake me. He will never use or abuse me.

From the moment I found out about this devastating situation, I knew my first inclination might be to travel the road of bitterness (like I had done years earlier) and to self-protect and live in fear. But I knew what was at the end of that road—it was a dead end. And I knew that life is so short that if I took that road, there might not be time to travel out of that dead-end road toward one of joy, peace, and freedom.

So at that moment (and almost every day since then), I've chosen to believe these truths:

  • I am the worst sinner I know.
  • Because of my sin, Christ died.
  • I will embrace the pain that someone else has caused me, because Christ embraced the pain that I caused Him.
  • Because Christ is risen, there is still hope for change.
  • My God—my heavenly Husband—is not like these men. Jesus Christ is faithful and true. He will never have an affair on me. He will never forsake me. He will never use or abuse me.

If you're a single woman and you're watching men you know and love being caught in this sin, be careful of the road you choose to travel in your mind. Be careful to not build self-protective layers around your heart because you never want to be betrayed in this way. Be careful of pride; it only leads to failure.

Yes, there will be consequences for these men, but as women there is no room in our hearts for pride, no room for bitterness, no room for rejection of God or His design of marriage. There is only room for humility, for godly sorrow that drives us to our knees, and for faith to believe that because Christ is risen, He alone has the power to deliver our brothers from their sins, and He has the power to deliver us as women from our sins.

Pray for these brothers. Pray for yourself. Set the example, and confess any sin you might be hiding. Walk in the light, and take the road of humility. It will lead you to the throne of grace where you will find "mercy and . . . grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read "Do All Men Cheat?"

 

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About the Author

Chiree Patterson

Chiree Patterson

Chiree's passion is to help others see and obey the truths of God's Word through visual stories and video content. Along with video producing for Revive Our Hearts, she volunteers in a women's prison and enjoys sharing the truths of the gospel to women from various backgrounds. Chiree loves spending time with people who are in different seasons of life–her grandparents, young moms, kids and college students. All it takes to keep her going is a consistent supply of chocolate, peanut butter, and coffee.