There is thinking among many today, even among many believers, that the way we determine if we’ve done the right thing is by looking at the consequences that might result. If the consequence is likely to be pleasant (for us or others), we assume it’s the right thing to do. If the consequence is perceived as negative, we assume it’s the wrong thing to do.
There only one problem with this way of thinking – it’s not Biblical!
Consider Joseph when working in Potiphar’s house. His boss’s wife tried to entice him into an adulterous affair. Joseph refused. What were the consequences of that refusal? His mistress lied about him to her husband and he was fired and thrown in jail! (Genesis 39)
Or what about Daniel? He prayed to God when it was illegal to do so. As a result, he was arrested and thrown into a den of hungry lions! (Daniel 6)
There are many other examples like this in scripture. The supreme example of course is our Lord Himself. During His earthly ministry, Christ did the work of the Father and preached the truth, despite opposition from the religious leaders of the day. The consequences were that He was arrested, beaten, lied about, humiliated and finally crucified.
Now, did Joseph, Daniel and Jesus do the wrong things? Of course not! On the contrary, they did the RIGHT things and still faced negative consequences.
We must remember, right and wrong are not determined by how much difficulty may come our way as a result of an action, right and wrong are determined by God’s Word.
Having worked for many years ministering to men dealing with sexual sin, I often hear something like this when encouraging them to confess to their wives their secret struggles and / or behaviors: “I can’t it would hurt her too much” or “I can’t because she will divorce me.” Similarly, when encouraging someone to confide their struggle to their pastor or another Christian brother or sister, people balk because they’re afraid of the possible consequences of being transparent before another Christian. However, God's Word is clear that this kind of transparency is essential for overcoming sin (see James 5:16).
As hard as this may sound, none of those reasons is a legitimate excuse for remaining in isolation and darkness. If we’re married, we’re called to be ‘one flesh’ with our spouses (Genesis 2:24). This means no secrets. There is no way to justify scripturally keeping our spouses in the dark about our ‘secret’ lives.
Will our spouse be hurt by the revelations? Almost certainly. Will he or she divorce us? It’s possible but in my experience unlikely, at least if the spouse is a believer. Will we personally experience pain and difficulty as a result of the revelation? You bet. However, it is still the right thing to do! In fact, it’s essential for freedom from sin and for God to bless our marriage and us.
The same is true for confiding in a pastor or Christian friend. We will be embarrassed and uncomfortable when doing so. We risk alienation and being misunderstood. However, again, it is still the right thing to do.
An old saying goes “freedom is never free.” We must be willing to do the hard things if we want to find freedom. The good news is that the negative consequences are not the end of the story. Joseph went on to be the most powerful man in Egypt except for Pharaoh himself. Daniel was similarly blessed.
This will be true for us as well. For me personally, the difficulty and embarrassment of telling my wife and my pastor (and many others as well at this point) of my own struggles have been far overshadowed by the blessings God has brought into my life as a result.
If we want God’s blessings we must obey the principles and commands taught in scripture. There is no other way.