“Stolen water is sweet,…” -Proverbs 9:17 ESV
If God cares about you at all, your secret will be found out. The storm-wet footprints of those who slip through the dark may dry by morning, but if you have to work with the lights off, you won’t see the other evidence you left behind. You’re careful not to leave scars, but those who love you can feel when your blood leaves your veins. You erase all the messages, but all it takes is getting your timing off one time and there’s nothing you can do about it. You clear your history, but your brain is missing that button. You can bury the bottle, but you renew your problem every time you empty a new one.
You can’t make yourself not want it and you can’t control how fast you need more. You have an addiction. The honeymoon period lasts a long time, but it’s not long before you realize you’re attached to a ball and chain.
“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” -Proverbs 9:17 ESV
How many holes do you have to dig before you’ve dug up all your good and you’re nothing but a backyard of buried secrets? No green, no new life and you’re tripping on a rusty chain. Why would anyone take the time to wash a dog that keeps going back to his dingy holes? Maybe you’d prefer the backyard. You can be the paranoid guard of secret holes, always looking over your shoulder.
You think it would be better if nobody knew and you can get this under control by yourself. You may be able to make it to the shower before anybody sees what you brought home, but there are some things you can’t wash off. There are things you can’t fix by yourself.
These things burn images into your retina. They carve their messages into the lining of your skin. Nobody can see just how bad it is, but they watch you squirm like a worm on a hot sidewalk, like a princess with a rash, like a star athlete with a twisted ankle.
“Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” –Proverbs 20:17 ESV
Your digging has damaged roots. You’ve isolated yourself with burned bridges. You were giddy with the attention of seduction, but now you’re just alone. Now you have to face what you’ve become. A fence climber, a gravedigger, a child left behind after a funeral.
“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there. -Proverbs 9:17-18 ESV
You may describe what happened as ‘getting caught’, but you’ve got it wrong. You’ve been found. The backyard has been seized and you’re being questioned while you watch them dig up your secrets. The excruciating shame shocks your body as the cloak of darkness is ripped away. You see your naked form in the light of day and don’t recognize the emaciated mass of gray you’ve become. You’re not so sexy when everybody around you isn’t drunk on stolen water.
There will be gawkers who snap your image while you’re stripped down and squinting under the bright lights of reality. You will be let down by those who you used to respect because when the lights come on, you’ll see them for who they are, too: immature and blind. Don’t pay attention to them. You’ll see the backs of heads more than you will the kindness in eyes. It takes a team of fighters with a lot of faith and a few scars of their own to help you walk.
You’ve been found out because you have a purpose. You’ve gone through your ‘boot camp’ of sin recognition and utter helplessness so that you can be part of a team who help the fallen make the long walk home. We all have impurities in our making. A little pressure, a little heat, a little dance with the devil will make some of those dormant weeds bloom. If you can see it, you can follow it down to the source and root it out.
There are many things you may have built in your life, but if they’re not meant to be there, they’ll be destroyed.
Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely. -1 Corinthians 9:13-15
If you have been caught in your sin, then your shackles have been cut. There is an upward climb through rocky woods before the open spaces of freedom. Sometimes slaves are afraid of the space between chains and freedom, but you don’t have to go this alone. There are others who have been there and there is One who has walked this before. No matter how many times you slip back and lose ground, you will never be left behind. He will never give up on you. When you can run, run. But, even if you have to crawl, keep moving.
The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. -1 Peter 5:9