When I was in high school our youth group went to Six Flags Over Texas for the day. When we were ready for lunch, I found myself standing in line with a couple of other teenage boys waiting to order. As we were slowly moving through the line, one of my friends suddenly muttered in a very excited voice, "Wow, she's hot!" The other guys in the line with me immediately turned to stare at the beautiful girl in line several feet behind us but I refused to turn. A couple of the guy urged me, "You've got to look at this girl! She's gorgeous!" I answered that I would but that I refused to turn and stare like a gawking bird and make a fool of myself. The guys described her to me and after a minute or so I twisted like I was stretching one way and then the other, getting a good look at the girl as I did. The other boys in line with me were impressed by the move and began practicing the move themselves as the day went on. I used to be real impressed with myelf, too, until I realized that I didn't have a problem with staring just like everybody else. I just had a problem getting caught.
The author of Proverbs struck on the core of this human tendency in a scene where an adulterous woman attempted to seduce a young man walking past her house. The woman said, "Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. Let’s feast on each other’s love! My husband isn’t home; he went on a long journey. He took a bag of money with him and will come home at the time of the full moon” (Proverbs 7:18-20, HCSB). Notice, that the adulterous woman's main selling point is that her husband will be gone for a long time and they won't get caught.
While the author of the proverb was specifically warning about the dangers and temptations of adultery, the seduction method is something we experience in nearly all areas of life. The belief that we won't get caught, that no one will know, can be a strong motivator to do something we know is wrong but we really want to do anyway. Rarely do men look at pornography when their wives are sitting next to them but they watch it when they think they won't get caught. Employees skim a little off the slush fund at work because no one keeps up with exactly how much is in there and they will never get caught. Those little indiscretions on business trips happen because there is no one who will report back to our spouse that we were unfaithful. Or we run that red light because no one is around to see us or give us a ticket.
The knowledge that we won't get caught emboldens us to do what we want when any other time we would resist temptation. Las Vegas's "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" motto is built on this foundation. But the definition of sin doesn't change because no one is watching. It's still called cheating even when you don't get caught, and you're still staring, even if no one can tell that you are. Rather than pushing the line and getting away with what we can, we ought to be even more careful with our integrity when no one is watching.
God has called us to live lives of purity. Are we trying to live with integrity or just trying not to get caught?