When No One Is Watching, Part 2

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.

Exodus 2:12

I want to stay with the theme “When No One Is Watching” for another day, because it touches upon a crucial issue in our time of history. In our mobile, technological society, we often find ourselves in situations where it seems as if no one is watching. And in these circumstances, we can be powerfully tempted to sin.

As a parish pastor, I counseled with several people whose business travel put them in a context where they were particularly vulnerable to sin. An executive found that when she was away from home, she was inappropriately flirtatious, even though she loved her husband and wanted to remain faithful to him. A high-powered professional struggled not to watch pornography in hotel rooms even though he was not tempted to do this sort of thing at home.

The Internet sets innumerable ethical traps because it seems to guarantee our privacy. (I say “seems” because much of our Internet activity is actually traceable.) By frequenting an online chat room, a wife became entangled in an emotional relationship with a man who was not her husband. Many people came to me because they struggled with the availability of Internet pornography. In all of these cases, the sense that “no one was watching” allowed people to sin in ways they would never have done in ordinary, observed life.

What can we do to avoid falling into the trap of Moses, and doing wrong because we are unobserved. First, as I wrote in my last post, we can take more seriously the fact that God is watching us at all times. Our desire to please him, coupled with a reminder of his presence, will make a real difference in our behavior. Second, we can find ways to get help from other people. If you know you’re tempted to sin in a certain way when you’re alone, share this with someone who will pray for you and hold you accountable. There are several computer programs that monitor Internet activity and send reports to others. I regularly receive such a report that helps me encourage a friend in his desire to live a holy life when nobody is watching. Third, you may decide to avoid situations that afford too much privacy. I know a woman who closed her personal bank account, choosing to share one account with her husband, because her private spending was out of control.

We were created to live in community with God and with other people. The more we consciously share lives with others, including the Lord, the less we will be free to sin when it seems as if no one is watching.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: If you have areas of your life where being alone increases temptation to sin beyond your control, what are you willing to do to get help? Is there someone with whom you can share your struggles? How can you live your life in deeper fellowship with God and God’s people?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, you know how tempting it can be for us to sin when we think nobody is watching us. In today’s world, we have so many opportunities to hide from public view, and this challenges our faithfulness.

Help us, Lord, to live each moment for you and your glory. May the fact that you are always with us motivate us to honor you in all aspects of our daily lives. And when we are tempted, may your Spirit bring conviction and increase our desire for righteousness.

Guide us, Lord, to live our lives with one another. May our fellowship be deep and truthful, so that we might help each other live rightly. When we struggle with things done in secret, give us the courage to share this with someone who can truly help us.

O Lord, may everything I do in this life glorify you . . . everything! Amen.