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April 6, 2021
Nobody Will Ever Know by Em-One

If you’re a sports fan, you probably have seen the articles and editorials or heard sports talk people talking about a high profile college football coach, an NFL quarterback and a former NBA player who may have either ended their careers or sent them into hibernation because they believed one of the biggest lies the enemy of our souls tells. “Nobody will ever know.”

Inappropriate encounters with coeds. Accusations from dozens of massage therapists who were sexually accosted. Live feeds with strippers. These are the ones we’ve heard about because they surfaced into public light. One doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe there are others (many other, potentially) that just didn’t make it into the media’s limelight.

Millions of other men and women with far a smaller social standing footprint and notoriety have believed this lie. They just didn’t make it into your Facebook feed. It Resulted in marriages ending. Families being blown apart. Jobs lost. Even prison terms. All because it seemed so plausible that nobody will ever know. Except people found out. And when they did, all hell broke loose.

People tend to have short memories when it comes to the crimes and misdemeanors of celebrities. You know. It’s probably time for the coach to retire, anyway. And besides, coaches get fired all the time. The ex-NBA star will probably pick up a contract with another network, or with the same one when the dust settles. The quarterback will probably land a position somewhere with another NFL team once things cool down. That’s just how it works in the celebrity world.

But most people aren’t celebrities. And when the lie they get sucked into comes home, their lives will be forever altered, and not for the better.

I think of some of the men I counsel who listened to the lie. They waited until their family was in bed, and then snuck to the computer and began clicking their way to the first of a cache of porn sites, thinking, “Nobody will ever know.” Two hours later, they break free of the trance and manage to shut their web browser down, feeling filthy and disgusted with themselves.

I think of some of the women I’ve counseled who clicked on the friend request from a high school beau, thinking it would be nice to re-connect. A casual, “How ya doin’,” became, “can I see you,” and before she knew what had happened, she was in a full-blown affair, without the will to break it off. So she just kept trying to cover her tracks and hide her movements. Until she couldn’t any more.

I don’t judge these people. John Wesley was right, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I have compassion for them. But I also know that the road they will have to travel to break the patterns that hold them hostage, especially if they want to restore the relationships their choices have broken, will be long and difficult. I know that making amends for the damage they’ve done, and breaking free of the guilt and shame they feel, will not be a quick or easy process. It won’t happen in a moment. God’s forgiveness is free, and it happens in a moment. But the trust of people they’ve betrayed isn’t. It almost always takes longer than anybody would want it to take to earn it back.

When we’re calm and fully rational, the lie is obvious. In a world that’s totally saturated with media and technology, virtually nothing can be done that nobody will ever know about. Ask anybody running for a public office. Ten year old tweets and pictures posted to the internet (possibly even innocently) routinely come back to bite the candidate and scuttle their campaign. And, by the way, you don’t have to be running for office for this to happen to you.

The problem (or one of them) is that Satan rarely starts whispering this lie when we’re calm and fully rational. He lurks, waiting until he knows it will seem reasonable, when our sensibilities are compromised. In the 12-Step Recovery Movement, they use HALT for those times. HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. There are other times when we’re vulnerable, but these four times are nearly always times when our defenses are weak and our thinking mind is easily hijacked. These are times when it seems entirely plausible that nobody will ever know.

Here’s an important reality, in addition to the reality that technology makes nearly every move we make available for review. There are always three who will know. Always. First of all, there’s you. You can be in denial, but unless you have actual brain damage, you know that you did it. You might try and convince yourself that it’s not that big a deal, or that (and this is a big one) you can stop anytime you want, but even if you have a convincing case, you know you did it.

Secondly, Satan knows you did it. This may seem kind of kooky. There are lots of ideas about what the devil can and can not know, but I’m convinced he can observe us, even if he can’t read our mind. He saw it. And it gives him data to work with for locating your weaknesses and blind spots. This is important because they’re the bull’s eyes for his targets. It’s easy to forget, but his goal is to take you out. Take a look at 1 Peter 5:8. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Not “someone to mess with,” or, “Someone to make miserable.” Someone to DEVOUR.

And third, God knows. He can’t be fooled. There’s no hiding from Him. (Ask the prophet Jonah…) Which, when it comes to our sin choices, is bad news.

But there’s good news. He wants to forgive us for the sin we’ve committed. He has said this dozens of times in dozens of ways. I love how the Apostle John wrote it in 1 Joh 1:9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. This is an INCREDIBLE promise. But it is conditional. If there’s an if, it’s conditional. IF we confess our sins… If we admit our sin. If we quit trying to conceal it. My favorite definition for confession here is agreeing with God on the nature of our sin. If we see it for what it is.

To be forgiven and purified from all unrighteousness is the best feeling a human can have. It means spiritual and emotional freedom.

And here’s something that takes it to another level. The prophet Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 31:34. speaking for God, “…I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Not only are our sins forgiven, they’re forgotten. Forgotten by the One who is capable of remembering EVERYTHING.

I believe humans are nearly incapable of forgiving and forgetting like this. When we’re the offender, we really want this to happen. When we’re the offended, well, maybe not so much. And yet there are times when as the offended, we want to forget the disloyalty, the betrayal, the personal injury. But really forgetting it is very hard. Almost impossible.

But with God, when He forgives, He forgets. And that’s a breath of life and hope.

In this moment of calm rationality it’s worth calling the lie out for what it is, for seeing it for the satanic manipulation it is. I once heard a teacher say, “It smells like smoke because it comes from hell.” I think that’s the case with this lie. It smells like smoke because it comes from hell. See it for what it is.

And then call down the grace of God, and then partner with Him and it to see the lie every time it tries to insinuate itself into your heart and mind.

From → Marriage

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