Assume You’ll Get Caught

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12: 2-3

When I taught English literature, there were two Shakespeare plays that were regulars: Macbeth, which I taught in October, and Romeo and Juliet, which I taught in February. That way the classroom decorations were both seasonal and in keeping with the lessons. (I like to multitask whenever possible.)

In discussing the plots of these two plays, I tried to integrate some life lessons as well. With Macbeth one of the morals of the story was “Assume you’ll get caught,” which frequently became a sort of class mantra for the rest of the school year.

Early on in the play, as we read the scene where Lady Macbeth tries to persuade her reluctant husband to murder the king, Macbeth asks, in essence, “What if we fail?” And Lady Macbeth says, in essence, “We won’t fail.”

I then would ask the class how many crime shows they’ve seen where the sidekick asks, “What if we get caught?” and the leader says confidently, “We won’t get caught!” (The answer is: Pretty much all of them.)

“And what inevitably happens?” I would ask, and the class would reply in unison, “THEY GET CAUGHT.”

Bingo. And of course, as we read the story of Macbeth’s one murder turning into two more to cover it up, then another, then the slaughter of a whole family, we see what is meant by “getting caught,” even if no arrest takes place. Soon the conspirators are drowning in the darkness of their guilt, and the belief that their souls are damned for eternity causes them to lose their minds. Macbeth, having seen the ghost of the friend he murdered, is ruling the kingdom through sheer paranoia, and Lady Macbeth’s tortured conscience has her sleepwalking every night, trying desperately to wash the blood from her hands. By the end of the play, both are as dead as their victims.

When the thought of doing something wrong occurs to us, we have an inner voice telling us, Don’t do it! I would submit to you that this is the still, small voice of God. Even in an unbeliever there is at least the inner voice of fear, asking, What if I get caught? If another inner voice is saying You won’t get caught, that is the voice of the enemy – the father of lies, the same one who told Eve, “You shall not surely die,” and persuaded her to blatantly disobey God. (Genesis 3:4)

Instead of trying to convince yourself that you won’t get caught, assume you’ll get caught. Instead of fantasizing what it would be like to enjoy the ill-gotten gain, picture prison, and what it would be like to lose your family, your reputation, and your freedom. Instead of dreaming of an affair with that person you find so attractive, imagine what it would be like to wake up the next day in the wrong bed, explaining to your spouse where you’ve been, explaining to the kids, the church … You get the idea.

If it’s worth the price you’ll end up paying, go ahead and carry out the plan. But I’m guessing once you’ve assumed you’ll get caught and mentally taken it to its logical conclusion, you’ll decide that the sin is not worth it.

Prayer: Father, You see all and know all. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, to guide us into the lives You want for us. Help us to shut out the voices of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to listen to You only, in Jesus’ name, Amen

3 thoughts on “Assume You’ll Get Caught

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