However you feel about Sarbanes-Oxley -- do we need even more such
requirements or did it go too far -- you have to appreciate the
sentiment: in light of no-no's in the corporate world, we need more
transparency to deter people from engaging in questionable and
outright illegal machinations. When you shine a spotlight everywhere,
there are less crevasses to hide our shady deeds.

And so it is with our personal morals, our Christian marriages, and
our church management. The scandals that make the headlines are about
people that are no different than you and me: no more or less deviant,
and no more or less depraved. They're just more in the public eye,
and so are subject to more scrutiny and shame.

But in our own churches, families, and even in the hidden caverns of
our thought lives, we must humbly exercise a self-imposed
transparency, to keep ourselves from drifting further from the light
and into the darkness. Whatever our innate predilections, whether
pornography or drugs or workaholism, absent persistent accountability
we will slowly but surely be overtaken by them.

Thanks be to God for mechanisms for forgiveness, both from Him and
from our fellow brother and sister. And thanks be to God for good
Christian men and women with whom we can be transparent, who are
decent and discreet and dogged enough to hold us accountable in ways
that are simultaneously loving and firm. The recent scandals we've
seen in our headlines should make us feel neither self-righteous nor
hopelessly vulnerable, but should rather sober us to our own
weaknesses and steel us to seek out the accountability and
transparency we need to stay on the narrow path.

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