Our lives are exposed in a way like never before. Cell phones can be used to collect pictures and videos,and many people don’t even realize they have been recorded. There is also the modern day paper trail, in the form of cell phone bills, or even by snooping in someone’s phone.

In these ways, our world is in the midst of major change. It was a whole lot easier to conduct an adulterous affair twenty years ago than it is today. Pictute a couple eating at restaurant, but they don’t notice an acquaintance sitting nearby who knows who they are. The cell phone comes out, a button is pushed, and the image can be emailed directly to the betrayed spouse. Or perhaps the pics or video would be uploaded to Facebook, to start a landslide of public humiliation, stress and shame.

The Internet is essentially lawless. Invasions of the privacy of regular people like you and me are very common. Consider how your friends, acquaintances, coworkers and family can upload your picture without permission, and “tag” it with your name, giving anyone with an interest your name.

I don’t agree with the multitude of ways a person’s privacy (and in some cases, their dignity) can be invaded over the Internet. If an embarassing video makes it to YouTube, hundreds of thousands of people could see it. Some video get “hits” that go into the tens of millions of views.

Emails and text messges have been the downfall of many marriages. Facebook is also culpable by facilitating the rekindling of decades old romances. It is ironic that the same social media and tech advances that have helped us can also hurt us. It is very important to consider the consequences before we have text communications that our spouse doesn’t know about.

Cell phones and the Internet create a major vulnerability to those who are doing things they don’t want others to know. Because we are human and we will make mistakes, forgiveness is desperately needed to offset the evils of online slander and secrets that are revealed in a most public manner.

In Matthew, Chapter 18 verses 21-22, it says: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” [NIV Bible]

Revenge is much more seductive than forgiveness. It can be so difficult to really listen to the other side when we’ve been betrayed. But Jesus gave us these instructions for a reason. When you show people mercy, you are giving them a gift. Your mercy may rub off on them, and they may pass it along to someone in their lives who needs forgiveness as well. The bottom line is this–the more transparent all of the details of our lives become, the more often we will be in need of forgiveness.