The recent hack of a website whose motto is “Life is short. Have an affair” drew as much attention to the website’s premise as to the cyberattack itself. The Christian Science Monitor report included different views on the information leak: “the hack was seen by some as a kind of moral vigilantism. Others saw it more as blackmail or cyberterrorism” (see “Ashley Madison hackers reveal names of cheaters”).
However one views it, all might at least agree that a clever slogan justifying and giving permission to cheat cannot change the fact that marital infidelity brings devastation to marriages and families. Devastated by my own parents’ divorce caused by infidelity, I know that broken promises can be painful to our loved ones – a lesson that many are facing. My heart goes out in prayer to all the families concerned, because I know that healing can be found through the recognition of our innate purity as children of God, a teaching deeply rooted in the life and example of Christ Jesus.
By his example, Christ Jesus showed that we are God’s sons and daughters, made to be the express image of God’s being – loved, pure, and like Him (I John 3:1-3). With even just this simple truth of the pure nature of God and man, I see that justifying adultery, in any way, is contrary to God and our inherent nature as God’s children.
Throughout his teachings, Jesus explains that it is within us to overcome any behavior not in line with God, including adultery (see Matthew Chapters 5, 6, 7). We do this by first acknowledging our true nature as the image of God, who is divine Spirit, and then making that the model of our every thought and action. This is a form of prayer that replaces wrong or impure thoughts in order to make mental room for the true spiritual view of ourselves and others.
By this we begin to understand that giving ourselves permission to be unfaithful does not apply to us because we agree only with our Christlike identity. We start to treat others in accord with that same Christ-view of their identity – with honesty, unselfishness, mutual respect, and love. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, gives this encouraging statement: “it is good to know that wrong has no divine authority; therefore man is its master” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1901,” p. 14).
It takes humility and a willingness to drop selfish and impure thoughts in order to prove our mastery over sin, and it is well worth the effort: Our actions show we are worthy of trust from those we care about and would never want to see harmed. This is the work of Christ – the divine message of our true identity as God’s likeness operating in our consciousness, elevating our thoughts and actions to purer desires, and bringing true redemption and healing.
Understanding God to be how the Scriptures describe Him – the redeemer of mankind (see Isaiah 44:6), Mrs. Eddy rhetorically asks in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Is there no divine permission to conquer discord of every kind with harmony, with Truth and Love?” (p. 394). Through the many encouraging examples in the Bible we see that no one is out of reach of the redeeming influence of divine Truth and Love (see, for example, Luke 7:36-50 and Romans 6:14). Through God’s supreme power, divine Love, God, renews in us a desire for holiness; it allows no trace of its opposite element; it removes emotional scars. As Christ Jesus taught, it is by the love of our Father in heaven we have not only permission but divine power to think and act as the sons and daughters of God.