What She Doesn’t Know Won’t Hurt Her
by Don Watson
She was working 10 to 12 hours a day as an ER doctor. Her friends saw her tirelessly giving herself to care for a constant stream of battered and broken people who poured into the hospital desperate for help. Elaine was good, extremely good at what she did, but she had a dark side as well. After work she would change clothes and stalk the bars and downtown dives searching for the man who had raped her sister – an action that left her sister so broken and demoralized that she had finally taken her own life. She was obsessed with revenge. Whatever it took, no matter what the cost to herself, she would hunt down this animal and destroy him. Someone, however, hired an investigator who interrupted her plan at its gut-wrenching, dramatic conclusion. She had caught the rapist and he was cowering at gunpoint. "Please, don't do this!" The investigator pled. "You're a good person, but this will destroy you."
"But why shouldn't I?" She replied, “I’ve lived for this moment. I don't care what happens to me. But this man doesn't deserve to live, and I will never have rest until I get revenge."
"But the people you help. I've seen them in the ER. And you, you are really good at what you do. You really care for those people. So many people will suffer if you do this."
"But no one has to know, unless you're going to tell."
"No, I'll never tell, but that doesn't matter. You kill this man and it will destroy you. You're never the same afterwards. Believe me, I know. It destroys a good part of you that can never be replaced."
Our illustration from the TV Show, A Person Of Interest reminds us that sin isn't something that God just disapproves of – one of His "pet rules" so important to Him that He'll punish you if you break it. It has within itself the seeds of hurt and destruction. The laws God gives us merely exist to help us identify those things that would hurt us. Sin has never been about God or His "precious laws." It is about us. WE are the apple of His eye. Like a parent who sees his toddler with a razorblade, God only desires we not hurt ourselves.
"Thou shalt not commit adultery" is not God simply deciding that people should not have the variety and fun of multiple sex partners. It is a violation of the way He made us – to have someone who loves us exclusively. To obey that command is to believe that God has created us for an intimacy with one person that will never be reached if we dilute it with others. In fact, others will adulterate what God intended we enjoy. We rob ourselves of the fullness of who He created us to be.
The phrase has been used by many of us, "Well, what she doesn't know won't hurt her." But it does. Like the feisty old man who didn't want anyone telling him what to do, we think we're getting away with something by pretending to take our blood pressure medicine, and we don't realizing that whenever we violate the laws of our physical well-being it hurts us and those that love us whether anyone finds out about it or not. Adultery and every other violation of God's commands literally hurts us and our partner whether anyone finds out about it or not. It destroys nakedness, closeness, tenderness, authenticity, and vulnerability.
I am sure there are people walking around in this world who have murdered someone and no one has found them out, and they think they have gotten away with it, but every sin has its own punishment. The guilt, the lack of trust, the love for others around us is damaged, beyond repair. "The wages of sin is death" – Romans 6:23. – is not just a Bible text, it is a revelation of why God hates sin. Sin kills, sin destroys. And none of us are so clever as to "get away with it" unscathed.
I am sure there are those of you reading this today that are doing things or have done things that are hurting you as we speak. Like a wound covered over by time, it still festers and is hurting you even though you think it has healed. No one but God and you may know about it and you may still be thinking that someone gets hurt only if they find out. Until you expose the wound to the breath of life it will never heal and it will never get better and you will keep hurting the people around you, but worse than that, God knows you are destroying yourself – your value, your intimacy with others, your trust, you ability to love unconditionally. God wants your complete healing. 1 John 1:7 has the perfect antidote and healing formula, "If we walk in the light like He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin."
If you conceal your cancer and refuse to trust the doctor with it, it will kill you. If you cherish your sin and refuse to trust Jesus with it, it will destroy you just as surely as a cancer will. But Jesus knows it anyway; He just needs your permission to heal you of it. Like a knife cutting out your cancer, it may be painful indeed, but afterwards you will heal.
I love our little story at the beginning. Someone saw the value of another person. They saw that this horrible thing that they were about to do would hurt them, even if no one ever found out. And they cared enough to confront them with their value. When we realize that sin hurts us, adulterates our value and is destructive, it will begin to lose its power over us. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation."