When I have a legal claim against someone I will often check to see if they are on Facebook or another social media site. It is amazing how often they will explain how the accident happened, and often admit that they had been drinking, or some other condemning information. While I only do injury law, I have read several cases where a criminal is arrested based on evidence found as a result of his own postings on Facebook! It seems technology has outpaced common sense in its use. But it is not just true in cases involving the legal system.
Public officials are proving that they too can be foolish with social networking tools. The latest public figure to fall from so-called sending lewd photos and suggestive statements via cell phone text messaging is Congressman Anthony Wiener. A recently married man, he was sending these to several other women. NFL star quarterback Brett Favre, a married Mississippi native, was alleged to have done much the same thing. Representative Christopher Lee, of New York texted a photo of him without his shirt on to a woman, not his wife, on Craigslist, and immediately resigned in disgrace.
So why do these people, who ought to know better, even do it?
“If you’re looking for some kind of deep explanation, I simply don’t have one,” Weiner said at a press conference admitting the actions. “This was just me doing a dumb thing, doing it repeatedly and then lying about it.”
The new term might be “Internet Infidelity.” Most experts say it is the instant gratification of this behavior that causes users to crave more.
This kind of behavior cannot be too far from more explicit behavior, however. As Christians, we understand how sin progresses. In the above texting cases, there is no allegation of actual physical intimacy. Compare this with recent allegations that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the current governor of the State of California, famous bodybuilder, actor and businessman, had a child with another woman while married to Maria Shriver.
If that sounds familiar, it is much like former presidential candidate and Senator John Edwards’ folly of having a child with another woman while his wife was fighting cancer and he was a viable candidate for the presidency. He added the audacious sin of allegedly forcing a staffer to lie and claim paternity for the baby, even though that man, Andrew Young, was also married.
Where does this all start? How can supposedly great–and certainly smart–men like this fall so far?
As with all other important questions in life, Scripture contains the answer:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:14,15.
You see in these cases, the “death” of marriages, trust and sometime careers. So how do the rest of us prevent ourselves from being “drawn away?” Here are some warning signs and deterrents that may be helpful on your online life:
– 1. Never tell a friend of the opposite sex something you would not tell your spouse. This can easily lead to a so-called “emotional affair.” Harmless at first, these begin as just friendship, but pick up speed as you eventually only feel “understood” by the person you are not married to.
– 2. Always have transparency in your online dealings. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, make sure your spouse can see all you send and receive.
3. 3. Always speak highly of your spouse in the presence of others of the opposite gender. If you express disappointment with him or her, the person you are talking to may see it as an opportunity.
4 .. Never post photos you don’t want your spouse to see, and that you don’t want to see again and again. You may see them in lawsuit or even a prosecution.
Remember, Jesus taught us in Matthew that our thought life is the birthplace of our actions. Centuries earlier, The ancient saying in Proverbs 23:7 summarized succinctly:
“For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”