Living In A Glass House

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Imagine with me for a moment that you lived inside a glass house. All the walls are glass. The flowers are glass. The chairs are glass. Even the curtains are glass; everything is made of glass.  I think this would be slightly annoying to live in this “glass-world” — perhaps even dangerous. Many birds are all too familiar with the perils of a clean window. When we consider the implications of living in a house made entirely of glass, the idea seems half-baked at best. We have curtains and walls for a reason privacy in specific contexts is a good thing. There are moments, conversations, and family activities that you don’t want your neighbors to be a part of; that is okay. Some privacy is good. However, privacy can also be a dangerous commodity to possess. Evil thoughts are often conceived and give birth in private (James 1:16-18). Once sin has been born, privacy is often the currency that allows it to continue unnoticed by everyone — except God. I am thinking specifically about the secrecy of the internet and the privacy of our smartphones.

Every day, you and I walk around with the entire internet at our disposal — an almost endless stream of information some good, some bad. While having a  phone in not sinful it can make sin easily accessible. This includes pornography but certainly extends beyond.  Consider the last few conversations you had via text message — did you gossip? Do the things you post on social media reveal a heart in love with itself? Do you mindlessly scroll media feeds hoping that it will numb the discontentment and irritability in your life. Pornography is not the only sin that should concern us. It is merely one expression of a sinful heart and none of us are in danger of being too good. “The clicks of our fingertips reveal the dark motives of our hearts, and every sin — every double-tap and every click — will be accounted for.”1 Everything you and I do in private will one day be exposed. The privacy of our smartphones makes it easy for us to lead a separate life online and to hold our wickedness close to our hearts without letting anyone know. But, “our Creator is no respecter of privacy laws.”2

Privacy is Ultimately A Myth

Media platforms may promise privacy but nothing you do is kept private from God. Tony Reinke writes, “His omnipresence shatters the mirage of anonymity that drives so many to turn to their phones and assume they can sin and indulge without consequences.”3

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:2-3)

Everything you and I do in this life will one day be exposed in the light. Every lustful thought, cutting remark, and every like on Instagram will one day be brought to center stage — it will be exposed.

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:24)

Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” (Isaiah 29:15)

Too often we are like a child playing hide-and-seek, who thinks he is well-hidden because he can’t see you. To him, it seems as if he has found the most magnificent hideaway when only half his body is covered by a small blanket — we are equally foolish. We go about our “secret lives” holding tightly to our “secret sins” and fail to realize that it is only a matter of time before the blanket will be pulled back and all our vices exposed. Unlike hide-and-seek, however, this is no laughing matter. There will be no, “Now it’s your turn to hide.” Only the holiness of God exposing your sin and mine. How then should we live? Paul writes,

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:11-13, 15)

You and I are to live in such a way that evil deeds are exposed. This first begins in our personal lives and extends to our interaction with the people around us.

So what about you? If the blanket were pulled off your head right now, would you be ashamed? If you were forced to do all your activities in a glass house for a week, would you be embarrassed for people to see the way you spend your time? Or would people see congruence between your public and private life? Character is who you are when no one is looking. Don’t use the apparent privacy of the modern world as a cover for sin. Pursue righteousness and seek to live a life of character that is the same in public as it is when no one is looking.


 

[1] 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, pp. 134.

[2] Ibid., pp. 135.

[3] Ibid., pp. 137.