by Rev. Jon Gleason
The company for which I work first became aware of Covenant Eyes some years ago when an associated company hired an apprentice. The leaders of his church were concerned about his computer use, and suggested Covenant Eyes to provide accountability.
This began a relationship which I have come to greatly value. My company has a strong Christian ethic, and eventually offered Covenant Eyes to all employees on a voluntary basis. At first, I was hesitant because it seemed to intrude on my privacy, but I began to see it differently. As my children have grown, I have valued it greatly, and our family uses Covenant Eyes on all our computers.
I have become a strong advocate of accountability software. Companies invest heavily in employees, but even Christian owned/operated companies often do little to help their staff in this area. This is spiritually and financially short-sighted, as pornography and other Internet addictions destroy productivity and health (spiritual, mental, and physical). The impact can be far greater when addiction leads to divorce.
As a husband, father, pastor, and employee, I see four compelling reasons for any Christian man to use Accountability Software like Covenant Eyes:
It is when you think you are strong that you are most likely to be weak (1 Corinthians 10:12; Proverbs 16:18). Each of us is vulnerable to temptation, and we must be vigilant against spiritual danger (1 Peter 5:8). If I trust my own integrity to keep me out of trouble, I lean on a thin reed indeed.
A very effective guard against temptation is a guarantee you will get caught if you yield. Certainly, God sees what we do, but somehow having wives, friends, or work colleagues know what I’m doing makes a big difference. Accountability to God should be enough, but honesty compels us to admit it often isn’t. As a result, knowing that someone gets a report if I click on that link is a strong deterrent.
Accountability Software protects against my weakness.
Sin makes us stupid. Sometimes, we just sin even when we know we are going to get caught. Maybe bitterness or anger tempts us to say, “I don’t care.” We might even get so messed up that we sin just to hurt someone, and so accountability prevention doesn’t help.
When a Christian gets this way, they need intervention. James 5:19-20 talks of believers who sin and are rescued by a brother’s intervention. If my sin generates a report going to a brother, I place in his hand a powerful tool to sweep away excuses and address my great spiritual need.
Accountability Software equips my brother to intervene.
Timothy was to be an example to other believers (1 Timothy 4:12). By using Accountability Software, my actions communicate. I say that purity is more important than privacy, and thus by example I encourage others to take purity seriously, and reject prideful spiritual self-sufficiency.
I live out the fact that we are family, not islands unto ourselves, and that what we do, even in private, effects others. I demonstrate my unity with my brothers, and my determination to involve others in my life. I live out the importance of a strong marital relationship, and that trust is something to be earned and protected. Even if I personally did not need the software, I would use it as an example to encourage others who do need it.
Accountability Software gives a positive example of godly values.
If you want people to trust you, make sure they don’t have to. This is true in financial, business, ministry, or sexual ethics. If you establish safeguards, others gain confidence in your integrity. The more people don’t have to trust you, the more they will trust you on those occasions when they need to. Conversely, the more they do have to trust you, the more opportunity for distrust to creep in.
Who, more than anyone else, do you need to trust you? Covenant Eyes is not an expensive gift of love to give your wife. Even if you aren’t tempted, you make it easier for her to trust you when she sees you establish a safeguard to protect your marital intimacy.
Accountability Software builds trust where most needed–in marriages.
Prevention, Intervention, Example, Trust. I would never say that those who do not use Accountability Software are sinning. What I would say is that I am thankful that my company made it available, and there are strong reasons for companies to consider offering it to their employees. I would definitely say that any Christian man who doesn’t use it would do well to take a second look.
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Jon Gleason is a bi-vocational pastor in Glenrothes, Scotland, pastoring Free Baptist Church. He supports his family by working as a computer programmer. He and his wife Terri have six children. He blogs at MindRenewers.com.
I am against blocking sites at work. I need my employees to provide good customer service. That might mean looking up a customer’s website to find their alternate plant shipping address, closest competitors, etc. It’s very frustrating to be blocked at every other turn while trying to do your job.
I have no idea what porn has to do at all with this article. What kind of freak is going to be looking at porn at his desk which the whole company can see as they walk by? I can see a point in having a filter at home where you are in private, but having a filter at the workplace is just too stifling, in my experience. Although, I have had a couple of employees who did too much stock research and personal stock trading at work. I told them to lay off and to use their smartphones or personal device if they want to do that and to not let it interfere and take time away from productivity.
By the way, we have a filter which blocks out pretty obvious porn. But that’s basically so it doesn’t slow down our system with an inadvertent typo. As previously stated, what kind of freak is going to look at porn on purpose at their desk in a public workplace? It’s not necessary. We use it just to not cause our system to get bogged down and it’s a basic filter which doesn’t block just about every site because the word “woman” was on there when you need to order a new sign for your women’s restroom.
@jackr – Thanks for your comment.
First, in this post Jon is talking about Covenant Eyes monitoring service, not the filter. Filtering on the job can be very cumbersome, you are right. Covenant Eyes provides a voluntary accountability service which enables someone to have an accountability partner that receives a report of all the websites you visit. Totally different than filtering.
Second, you might be surprised to know how common porn at work is. In 2005, half of Fortune 500 companies had dealt with at least one incident related to computer porn over a 12-month period. In 2004, a survey conducted by Queen’s University in Belfast of 350 businesses in the U.S., U.K. and Australia showed 28% said they had downloaded sexually explicit content from the Web while on the job, and half of all workers said they had been exposed to sexually explicit material by co-workers.
You are correct — filtering is not a very good idea for work. We do not use it, we just use monitoring.
As Luke said, there is a lot of porn downloaded at work. Many people have offices that are private enough that they could look at porn without being observed. There are also sites with very explicit and inappropriate verbal content which would not necessarily have inappropriate visuals that would catch the eye of someone walking by.
The monitoring service is especially valuable for those who work at home.
The article mentioned (intentionally) other addictions. This could include gambling or excessive use of social networking sites, for instance.
Why don’t you ask your employees if they would like it if you offered it to them? If any of them have ever felt tempted and want some extra protection, or if they want something like that just to reassure their spouse, they might appreciate it..
Thank you, Jon, for an excellent article. Anyone who thinks that simply being in a work environment will prevent looking for ways to satisfy a temptation isn’t paying enough attention. We need far more accountability in this day when the world’s filth is ubiquitous. I love being able to use Covenant Eyes to provide accountability reports to my wife, and to another godly friend.