I recently heard about Ashley Madison, a twenty-one million member strong website that charges husbands and wives who want to break their marriage vows to meet others who also want to commit adultery. The site apparently gets a lot of publicity for not being allowed to pay for publicity. What especially caught my attention was the companies slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.”
We have a premise about the brevity of human life followed by the conclusion.
Premise 1: Life is short
Conclusion: Therefore it is reasonable to pay someone to help me break my vow of faithfulness, deeply hurt someone I claim to love, and risk breaking up my family for the chance of a few moments of pleasure using someone who is also untrustworthy.
If you are familiar with logical syllogisms you’ll notice something is missing. We are expected to fill in the the second premise.
Ashley Madison, and their twenty-one million members, assumes that between “Life is short.” and “Have an affair.” there is another thesis along the lines of “There is no accountability afterwards.”
Everything changes if you disagree with the unstated second premise. If you believe that there is a God who made this world and everything in it and therefore rightly has established a moral law to which each soul will be held accountable, reflecting on the brevity of life will lead to a different conclusion. When I think of how short life is I don’t think how I need to betray those I love the most or how I need to make seeking pleasure and entertainment my overruling priority. I think how much I need to pour what’s left of my years into serving those I love and I regret how much time I have wasted seeking trivia that promised pleasure. I regret my sins.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Which means if life is short, then I am facing judgement soon. The last thing I would want to do is rack up as many offenses as possible before meeting the judge.
Life is short, but meditating on the brevity of life should lead to wisdom and deeper trust in God, not to folly and sin.
“The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10-12 ESV)