It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Ephesians 5:12 (The Message)
Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.Psalm 139:7-12 (The Message)
I haven’t always been truthful with my wife. Uttering these little white lies has happened on more than one occasion. In fact, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve played dumb or attempted to change the subject to avoid being found out.
Over the years I’ve kept my indiscretions hidden. With that said, carrying this guilt has been too much for me to bear, especially in the midst of an integrity series here at church. I never thought I’d be the type of person who would do this sort of thing. But, during those moments when I felt entitled and bored is when I was most susceptible. The opportunity would present itself and I’d go back and forth on the reasons why my actions weren’t that big of a deal:
“She’ll never find out…..I’ll only do it this one time…..It’s not hurting anybody….Anyone in my position would do the same thing….It will be fun….”
The temptation would be too enticing and eventually I would click “Watch Next Episode.” Yes, that’s right, I am a serial Netflix cheater. One of the greatest vows you you can make with your spouse is to sit down and watch your favorite show together. No skipping ahead unless each partner is present and accounted for.
Unfortunately, I’ve ignored this rule one too many times. What began as some harmless flirting of “I’ll just watch the opening for the next episode of Breaking Bad” turned into an all-night binge-watching marathon. Before you sit there in judgment, take a look in the mirror. This type of cheating is on the rise. A recent survey showed that 48% of U.S. couples commit streaming infidelity. 63% of those surveyed said they would cheat more with the remote if they knew they could get away with it.
I think these statistics reveal a great deal about our heart when it comes integrity. It’s the repercussions, or lack thereof, that determine our actions. If no one will know but us, we are more willing to give in and let loose. We indulge until we are found out. We rationalize our behavior. During those moments, when our actions rise to the surface we say we are sorry.
But, are we truly sorry, or only sorry because we got caught?
Watching an episode of House of Cards or Stranger Things without your spouse is somewhat humorous and in the realm of things, not that big of a deal. Yet, take this mindset and enter it into situations where there is more on the line. No one will be any wiser to our actions so we fudge the numbers at work. Maybe we try to control what we eat or don’t eat. Behind closed doors at night we peruse the Internet. We let our mind wander and have hateful and bitter thoughts about others. We settle for convenience over commitment. We engage in things we are well aware aren’t good for us.
Since no one knows, these secrets have the potential to grow in scope and size. It becomes easier to forgo our integrity. From our perspective, the worst thing that could possibly happen is for someone to find out. In actuality, that’s the best thing for us.
Isolation is integrity’s strongest enemy. Sin and struggles thrive in the darkness. When we are all alone, our deceptive heart has a captivated audience to pull the strings. Why does this matter? Our willingness to walk with integrity influences our connection points. A hidden heart can’t be loved. We can only be loved to the extent that we are known. So, today, put down the remote and come out of hiding.
- Where are you most vulnerable to give into temptation if you knew you wouldn’t get caught?
- Who are you behind closed doors? What keeps you from being open and honest with God and others about things you’ve kept hidden?
God, give me the courage to step out of the darkness. I’m tired of rationalizing away my behavior and justifying my actions to get rid of guilt. Deep down inside, I desire to be a person of integrity, someone who honors You in everything they do. Allow this part of me to shine today. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.