bring to light

When Nobody is Looking

The Ashley Madison website hack has served to bring to light the tragic possibilities when we dabble in darkness. Recently, a New Orleans pastor and seminary professor took his own life after his name appeared on the list with tens of millions of others. He left behind his wife and two children. In a final note, he spoke of his depression, his name on that list, and how he was sorry. It’s sorrowful to imagine the mental strain he was under. His family, coworkers, and friends all exclaimed that he was a loving, forgiving man. Yet somehow he couldn’t extend that to himself. We tempt losing everything when we make the dangerous to pursue dangerous things in secrecy. If we are doing things that we wouldn’t share with those closest to us, we are in a precarious place.

Living fully transparent is not an easy accomplishment. It has taken me a great portion of my life to emerge completely from all the shadows of my youth and young adult life. As Gregg Allman once famously sang, “I’m no angel.” Yet what is done in secret will eventually come to the surface. We need to examine our lives and root out those things that cause us shame, guilt or endanger the future of the families we lead.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the common places men hide in the dark and talk about how we can get out of them.

Sexual Temptations

No man is safe from sexual temptation, and to make things worse, it’s every single place we go or look. The causes of our temptation mostly reside in ego and self-esteem issues. The world knows this and preys upon the vulnerability relentlessly. It’s important as men that we talk openly about our weaknesses with our spouses. In a statement made by the late pastor’s wife, she said, “Don’t underestimate the power of love. Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend. It just didn’t merit it. It didn’t merit it at all.” If you aren’t married, confide in and be held accountable by a trusted friend. Do not hide alone in shame.  

Unethical Behavior

Integrity is what creates the cornerstone of our family foundations. If we are hiding things in the dark, if we are involved in unethical behavior, and if we are compromising core values in exchange for perceived gain, then we are taking a wrecking ball to that stone. The outcome will eventually be that the family comes crumbling down. We have to make the decision of what type of man we are going to be. To be in a position of leadership is to hold great influence. Who we are when nobody is looking must be the same as when we are standing in the light. The man of integrity will make it to the finish line.

Addiction and Self-Destruction

We hide from the world those parts of us we struggle to control. Those explosions of anger we have at home when the world isn’t around. Or, the road rage that blows up suddenly because of all the other buttons that had been pushed that we kept shoved down. We hide those coping addictions, such as drugs and alcohol, that seem to get worse each year that passes. Nobody knows about the nightly porn when she’s asleep, and the casual flirtations bordering on becoming dangerous. All these seemingly insignificant items adding up one by one. Then life crumbles into hundreds of pieces and we shout to Heaven, “Why?” The pathway out is to shine the light now on ourselves before it comes on its own. Trust those in your life and let them help. Don’t underestimate the power of love.

Huddle up with your kids tonight and ask, “Why is it important to be open and honest and to have integrity?”