Sex Apps. Affairs. Hope.
This is the slogan of one of the world’s most popular dating websites, a dating site for married people whose services provide private easy and discrete opportunities for affairs.
One of their recent commercials shows a woman going out to exercise, as a kind of Nike parody. She starts her run and her thoughts begin to narrate for us:
Why am I out of bed before anyone else?
Why do I run faster than I did yesterday?
Why do I drown out the voice of pain?
Why do I never quit?
Then she stops and looks as the camera and says:
I just don’t want to get caught. Our runner brings her finger up, pressing it to her lips in a shushing gesture, smiling and running off, as a woman running behind her screams “Hey!” and chases after the first woman.
The context snaps into place as the questions come into focus: Her questions have nothing to do with taking care of her body (through exercise), rather, the opposite, they’re about the infidelity of her body.
The woman behind her chasing is presumably the wife of the man our narrator has been having an affair with.
The commercial message: with us you can find provocative, easy, fun cheating.
Two Views on: Sex Apps, Affairs, Hope.
It’s an ugly twist as the brevity of life is cast in a new light. We only live once, so how do we engage the brief moments we find ourselves in? One way is to live knowing each moment is pregnant with rich meaning — people are valuable and fragile, love is sacred, joy and peace are with pursuing, and our actions echo into eternity.
Another way to live, the view presented by the above website, presents the short nature of life as a reason to live each moment however we want — life is brief, so live however you want and pursue as much pleasure as you can.
The famous atheist philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, once concluded: “Several hours or several years of waiting is all the same when you have lost the illusion of being eternal.”
His point: If there is no eternity then our moments and experiences are without meaning, a day doesn’t matter, just as decades of life and relationships don’t matter. It’s a hard thing to say, and it makes me wonder how this man could carry on in life, believing that meaning is a farce knowing there was no real purpose once God is rejected.
Yet we see the same life-philosophy in the commercial above, though we also see that the woman is running from more than the woman behind her. Like all of us, we begin by pursuing lustful pleasure, but eventually we only keep running to outrun the consequences that haunt us, rather than running toward anything of meaning. The runners questioning reflections give us an uncomfortable window into the reasons we run:
Why am I out of bed before anyone else? So that we can hide our sins from those closest to us — finding moments late at night, early in the morning, or when no one is home to lustfully indulge.
Why do I run faster than I did yesterday? Because lies grow, getting bigger and more complex the more we live in them. If we don’t run faster, then the lies will catch us and we’re terrified about what might happen if our sins were to be seen by others.
Why do I drown out the voice of pain? Because we’re afraid we’ll have nothing left if we don’t. We aren’t only running from other people, we’re running from ourselves, because the voice of pain is the sound of our soul crying out in pain. This isn’t the life we’re meant to live and so we run from the groans of our own pain-filled soul.
Why do I never quit? So that we don’t get caught, because then we’ll have to look at the pain, the brokenness, and the lies. We’re hardhearted, selfish, and we’re afraid.
We all started our lustful pursuits by running toward something, but just like the woman in this commercial, she is no longer running toward something beautiful but away from something terrifying.
The Christian End
The E in Proven stands for Eternal in Perspective, which is a necessity when it comes to sexual integrity.
The author of the book of Hebrews looks at eternity by using the phrase: consummation of the ages. The word consummate caries the meaning of a man and women’s marriage becoming complete by sexually becoming one. The New Testament uses this intimately explicit language of consummation to describe our entrance into eternity, when heaven and earth come together in the new creation, when humanity is forever joined with God — a bride and husband made one.
All of life is a fountain for meaning, as pain sobers us to the presence of need and joy submerges us into the delight of living. That fountain can be polluted or enriched, depending on how we live. But that fountain cannot every be turned off. What we do in secret shapes the ways we live in the open.
Users of the above-mentioned website, they discovered the repercussions of their actions the hard way. 37 million users of this affair website had their information hacked, information the users paid extra money to ensure deletion, though it obviously never was. The company kept all the information and then it was stolen. Slowly leaked onto the internet until the CEO was forced to resign.
Life is short, what are you doing in silent moments of your day? What are you doing when no one is looking? What are you being influenced by? What are you running toward? What are the things that are most shaping you?
The briefness of life doesn’t highlight the unimportance of each moment. Rather, the brevity makes each moment that much wealthier.
How do you live life? Do you throw away moments as an opportunity for self-pleasure or are the moments precious and worth stewarding?
Either life is short, so why not live for pleasure. Or life is short, so live into eternity. What are you living for?
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.