My girlfriend cheated on me, and I found photos of her doing improper things with another guy. But she didn’t know that I had the photos, and I uploaded them to the Internet so that everyone, including her classmates, could see what she did. I hurt her… and now I’m sorry.
The Internet is a wonderful tool that has enriched our lives, but it can also be a destructive weapon capable of hurting the innocent as well as the guilty. You were wounded by your girlfriend’s deception and you wanted to cause her to feel some of the pain that you were experiencing, so you accomplished that through use of the Internet. But as most people discover, revenge was not as sweet as you thought it would be.
What is seen on the Internet can never be erased from your mind. Of course you can take down the photos, but the damage has already been done. The images caused some kind of reaction in each person who saw them, and their reactions are probably why you now say that you are sorry.
If you follow the headlines, you probably know that this kind of Internet incident has caused some children, teenagers, and even young adults to quit their schools and change their entire lives. In the most extreme cases, there have even been suicides. You probably didn’t think of that when you were uploading the photos.
The Apostle Paul taught: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.”1 “In the eyes of everyone” implies that what you do will be seen by everyone else. However, the Internet makes it possible to do wrong and never be seen.
Blogs and websites are sometimes created anonymously for the purpose of slandering other people and organizations. Social networking sites harbor criminals and pedophiles who cyberstalk the innocent and the naïve using false identities. And teenagers damage their friends’ reputations by uploading compromising photos and information, all without revealing their own identity.
Of course you should apologize to your ex-girlfriend for what you did, but she may not be willing to forgive you. So what can you do about your conscience which is obviously bothering you? Confess your sin to God in prayer, and ask Him to forgive you. If you are sincere, and if you are truly sorry, then He will forgive you. His Son Jesus Christ died to take the punishment for what you did, so you don’t have to face eternal punishment for your sins.
Become an advocate for kindness, honesty, and integrity. A person who has integrity does what’s right even when no one is looking. Do what is right when people see you, and do what is right when people can’t see you. Don’t do anything that you would be ashamed to have other people see or know about. Treat others as you want to be treated.2 Eventually this sad episode will fade from memory, but your newfound integrity and relationship with Christ will be with you forever.
I wish you well,
1 Ro 12:17
2 Mt 7:12