As I write this late at night in the relative quiet of my hotel room, I know that it is likely to “make a lot of noise” among some who will view my position on the subject as outdated, antiquated notions from a bygone era. Be that as it may, my position is rooted in Scripture, logic, and experience, and I will gladly compare standard outcomes with anyone who holds opposing views.
Georgia was the destination, and I had about two and a half hours left in my three and a half hour trip. My phone rang, and I answered it hands-free through the radio of my truck. This is neither here nor there, but growing up I never dreamed I would one day be driving down the road talking to people through my radio, and having them talk back the same way.
My father in law was the one calling. When I said “hello,” his first words were, “Looks like you got away a little late. Everything okay?”
Allow me to explain. He and my mother in law were already in Georgia, just about ready to check into the same hotel I would be checking in to. We would all be in a church jubilee meeting for a few days. But how, you may wonder, did he know I was late getting away if he was already hundreds of miles away from me?
Cell phone. Tracking app. Our whole family has it on our phones, so that every single one of us, young or old, can see where everyone else is at any time. We do not view this as a “the adults can keep tabs on the kids” kind of thing, we view it as an “every one of us is accountable to everyone else” and “there is safety to be found in the light” kind of thing.
My wife often calls me and starts the conversation with, “Hey, while you are at Bojangles, could you pick me up a…”
I can almost hear the horrified gasps, and the “tsks!” from everyone who espouses the “personal privacy above all else” philosophy of life. But while I do understand and appreciate the value of proper and timely privacy, I could also list a myriad of reasons for people in general to be way more accountable to each other than they normally are.
Jesus had a good bit to say about preferring the light of consistent accountability over the shadows of constant privacy. In John 3:19-21 he spoke both of salvation and behavior when he said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
Some years ago we had a couple in church who were simply aghast at the fact that Dana and I have unfettered access to each other’s social media accounts, phones, and other devices. The wife in particular expressed disgust at “how little we must trust each other.” I personally, then, was not the least bit surprised when adultery ruined their marriage, adultery that started by inappropriate texts being sent from a co-worker to one of those spouses.
My wife would have seen those texts if it had been someone sending them to me. Thanos would not have been able to make a person sending them to disappear any more completely.
I received an email, complete with picture, from an attractive young lady we did not know asking for counseling. My wife answered it, and kindly directed her to seek out her pastor’s wife for that.
I got an Instagram message from some immodest woman wanting to be allowed to message me. My wife dunked that like Michael Jordan taking off from the free-throw line.
I think of all this in light of a world-famous evangelist, now deceased, who is being accused of lewd behavior during his life at the weekly visits he made to a spa. I have no way of knowing if the accusations are true or false. I just know it was foolish for him to be alone, wrapped only in a towel, with a woman who was not his wife. It was a violation of Romans 13:14 and 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
Thinking and living openly and accountably does not rob me of my freedom. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Being accountable makes me free to simply be careful about not falling, without having to actually worry about it as if I am on my own on that one. Being accountable gives me the peace of mind to know that my testimony is safe. Being accountable removes suspicion and jealousy from the equation. Being accountable also keeps me, Mr. Directionally Challenged, from ending up in Sri Lanka instead of Spartanburg despite the best efforts of my GPS to redirect me. I can make a GPS cry, but my indefatigable wife never tires of rescuing me when I do.
Real freedom is found in the sunlight, not the shadows.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at [email protected]