Are you having a secret sordid affair… with money?

Hiding MoneyThink about it. In recent years it’s become very front-of-mind to have account­abil­i­ty in the area of our lives gen­er­al­ly described as sex­u­al integri­ty. We encour­age men and women alike to find like-mind­ed folks to sup­port them as they try to align this area of their life with God’s stan­dard. We invite these trust­ed peo­ple to have unfet­tered access (if we’re being hon­est) into our lives to make cer­tain that we can­not keep sex­u­al sin hid­den… sin such as porn, affairs, sex out­side of mar­riage, vis­its to strip clubs, pros­ti­tutes, cha­t­rooms, hookup apps, dat­ing sites, etc., even men­tal­ly lust­ing after those who are not our spouse.

That kind of account­abil­i­ty seems almost insane to one who has not gone through the expe­ri­ence of a self-moti­vat­ed “dying to self” and decid­ing that we desire God more than we love our sin and pride, or alter­na­tive­ly, of being caught out by a loved one or leader and giv­en a choice between being account­able or fac­ing con­se­quences we can­not bear to face.

Yet, even to those of us who are striv­ing for account­abil­i­ty in this area, many of us would balk far more strong­ly if some­one were to sug­gest that we asked our­selves if we need­ed to be Finan­cial­ly Account­able. We’d be will­ing to let oth­ers in to our sanc­tum sanc­to­rum of deep­est inner secrets of our sex­u­al thought-lives, com­put­er usage, and dat­ing activ­i­ties, but the very idea of let­ting anoth­er like-mind­ed broth­er or sis­ter see what choic­es we have been mak­ing with our mon­ey would be almost crip­pling­ly unthink­able. We’d take up arms and fight; Yes,fight to the point of destroy­ing friend­ship and fel­low­ship if any­one were to dare sug­gest that we might be hid­ing a dirty-lit­tle-finan­cial-secret; a lit­tle expen­di­ture here, a ‘just for emer­gen­cies’ maxed-out cred­it card there…

Why? I don’t know why for each per­son, but there is one rea­son I think would be fair­ly com­mon, that rea­son being that it’s not just that we don’t want oth­ers judg­ing our finan­cial hon­esty, but that finan­cial hon­esty would shine a reveal­ing light on a whole host of things in our lives that we are dis­hon­est about, things that we are ashamed of and want kept secret.

In some ways it might be even hard­er for those of us who have sought account­abil­i­ty in the area of sex­u­al integri­ty because we have, in our hearts, incor­rect­ly begun to feel that we’re real­ly upstand­ing folks. We’ve exposed the dirt­i­est, dark­est, most shame­ful, most hid­den parts of our­selves and let the light of hon­esty shine into the dark­est cor­ners and most hid­den nich­es. We might think our­selves jus­ti­fied in keep­ing this oth­er area of our life in shad­ow behind locked doors. We might be loathe to admit, even to our­selves that we might find our­selves far and away more great­ly ashamed of our lit­tle finan­cial dal­liances than ever we were about an occa­sion­al look at a skin mag, view­ing an imag­i­na­tion-inspir­ing Hol­ly­wood movie, hang­ing out on dat­ing sites where the con­ver­sa­tion can become… stim­u­lat­ing, a Google image search with Safe-Search fea­tures dis­abled, or that lin­ger­ing look we take each time we pass the desk of the sec­re­tary at work who is com­plete­ly unaware of just what we can see when stand­ing while she’s sit­ting.

The bible tells us that even our best is as filthy rags, I would think most espe­cial­ly if our best is help­ing us give our­selves a pass some­where else. Isa­iah 64:5–8 NASB

5 You meet him who rejoic­es in doing right­eous­ness,
  Who remem­bers You in Your ways.
  Behold, You were angry, for we sinned,
  We con­tin­ued in them a long time;
  And shall we be saved?

6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
  And all our right­eous deeds are like a filthy gar­ment;
  And all of us with­er like a leaf,
  And our iniq­ui­ties, like the wind, take us away.

7 There is no one who calls on Your name,
  Who arous­es him­self to take hold of You;
  For You have hid­den Your face from us
  And have deliv­ered us into the pow­er of our iniq­ui­ties.

8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
  We are the clay, and You our pot­ter;
  And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Some final thoughts:

Has some­thing very help­ful to the Chris­t­ian walk per­haps been mis­used and caused great harm for some in this area? How many of us Chris­tians would be inclined to wave our Finan­cial Peace Uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cates (metaphor­i­cal­ly speak­ing) to quell any ques­tions oth­ers who care about us might have for us. We’d nev­er wave our actu­al bud­get. I know I’ve waved my cer­tifi­cate a time or two when uncom­fort­able scruti­ny has fall­en upon me. Heav­en for­bid that we wave our “I Tithed” stick­er around like we’ve just left the vot­ing polls to rebuff inquiry into this area, because, “If I’ve tithed, I must have my finan­cial house and heart in order.” I’ve been amused at the social meme late­ly of com­plete­ly replac­ing rhetoric with the antithe­sis of rhetoric; the “Because Sci­ence!” or “Because Racist!” argu­ment [air quotes], how­ev­er, it’s not so amus­ing when I real­ize that I might have myself used the “Because FPU!” or “Because Tithe!” argu­ments to stomp on hon­est inquiry.

I think in a lot of ways, our hearts and pri­or­i­ties may far more clear­ly be reflect­ed in our bank state­ments than our CovenantEyes or X3Watch account­abil­i­ty reports.

I guess this area for some of us may be one more exam­ple of Col. Jim­mie Coy’s ABoBs (A Bowl of Beans one is will­ing to pur­chase in exchange for their eter­nal spir­i­tu­al birthright).

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed to Face­book Novem­ber 1, 2014, as a fol­low-up to thoughts post­ed Octo­ber 17, 2014 and repub­lished here as An Invi­ta­tion to Self-Reflec­tion

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