I have read that as many as one billion tweets are sent every 2-3 days. That’s amazing, especially for an application that began less than a decade ago.
I, too, use Twitter (@clawlessjr), but sometimes I’m surprised by what seemingly insignificant information others share. “Got up early this morning.” “On my way to the store to buy bread.” “Reading a book.” “Working out.” “Raking the leaves.” “To the office – many meetings today.” “Tired this morning.” “Can’t sleep.” On and on the text messages go. To be honest, I’m just waiting for someone to let me know when he is having a bowel movement – and that kind of sharing becomes the norm. Nothing, it seems, is private in a twittering world.
But, maybe that’s not all bad.
Sure, some privacy is important. The physical joys of marriage are meant to be enjoyed privately. Not every confession of sin should be spoken so publicly that additional problems are created. Some prayer needs are so deeply felt that sharing them with more than a few people is emotionally draining. Ministry often requires us to hold information responsibly, being careful not to make publicly known what is shared privately.
On the other hand, too much privacy sometimes results in tragedy. You know the story—a follower of Jesus falls into sin, hides it, and soon finds himself/herself entangled in a sinful mess. This course of sin should not surprise us, as it began with Adam and Eve and has continued since then. Having wrongly chosen to eat from the forbidden fruit, the first human beings hid themselves (Gen. 3:8). Indeed, they were so deceived that they thought they could hide “from the presence of the Lord God”—as if that were even possible! The enemy so ensnares us in his web of deceit that we somehow believe that God Himself does not know what we do in private.
Having studied spiritual warfare and the enemy’s strategies for many years, I have watched far too many men and women mess up in their spiritual walk. What I have never seen, though, are believers who just “wake up” on the other side of sin, as if they unexpectedly and unconsciously find themselves there. Instead, what I have seen is the believer who makes one wrong choice that leads to another wrong choice … that leads to even more wrong choices … and eventually to a fall. Almost always, secrecy marks the downward process somewhere:
- pretending I am faithful in my practice of spiritual disciplines
- viewing Internet pornography when nobody else is around
- counseling alone a member of the opposite gender
- finding it easier and easier to lie to my spouse about anything
- hiding text and email messages so no one reads my communication with that particular person
- meeting alone to have lunch with that person who is attractive to me
- finding excuses to avoid planned accountability meetings
Moral failure almost always involves our covering up secrets, even while convincing ourselves that our actions are acceptable. The result is ultimately spiritual disaster. And—lest we find ourselves arrogantly inattentive to the warning signals—only fools think they immune to the possibility of falling.
How do we remain faithful when a very real, supernatural enemy seeks to lure us into the darkness?
Here is one step in the process: make sure that somebody who loves us ALWAYS knows where we are and what we’re doing.
If we are never in a place, never in a situation, and never with a person that demands our hiding, the likelihood of our falling decreases significantly.
Sound complicated? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Call your spouse or email him/her when you get to work. Get in touch with him/her when you go to lunch and when you return to work. Let him/her know when you head home. If you are running an errand and get detoured, let your spouse know. Frankly, you might even find that talking more with your spouse is good for your marriage.
Or, if you are not married, find someone of the same gender to carry out this accountability role for you. The cost of falling is simply too big of a price to pay for any of us to give ourselves permission to live secret lives.
In fact, I probably need to rethink my opinion about Twitter. If using Twitter makes it more difficult to hide, it’s likely a smart move for Christian leaders to start sending tweets about everything we do.