“And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.”
The verse above is what led to the destruction of the city of Ai. Israel lost its first battle against this city because of their sin in taking of the accursed thing. Joshua’s plan to defeat this city was to go against the city again and draw them out; thus, leaving the city open. Joshua’s plan worked perfectly. As the Israelite army approached the city again, Ai’s army pursued them as Israel fled, faking that they were defeated again. The mistake that Ai made was that they “left the city open.” The open city is what led to the men in hiding being able to go in and burn the city, which led to Ai’s eventual defeat.
Leaving the city open is a great lesson for every believer to learn about the importance of keeping some mystique about yourself. I am all for transparency and for people being totally honest; however, there is a difference between being transparent for the sake of people seeing that you are real and keeping your mystique so that you don’t leave your city open. You must understand that many marriages, families, and individuals have opened themselves up for sin because they didn’t keep the gates closed on their city. What I mean by this is that everybody doesn’t need to know or see everything about you. There should be some unknown about you and your private life that leaves a mystique that keeps people from crossing lines that could lead to sin.
The pastor must be careful about becoming too open that he loses his mystique with church members. Every pastor should keep some guards in place that he doesn’t open himself up to people losing their respect for him and his position. Yes, the pastor is a man, but the position deserves respect. If a pastor shows everything about himself, he loses the respect of the people because there is no mystique.
Likewise, I believe your marriage doesn’t need to be an open city. Everybody doesn’t need to know everything about your marriage. There are certain boundaries that need to be kept so that others can’t cross the line and ruin your marriage. The intimate life of your marriage should only be the business of the husband and wife. Nobody outside of your marriage, including your children, should EVER know about your intimate life. If you are having marital issues, certainly the person counseling you needs some insight into your problems, but even then, you must be careful about losing the mystique between the counselor and the couple.
Moreover, your family shouldn’t be an open city for everyone to see. Your children need to know that there are some things you don’t discuss outside of the home. There must be some mystique about your family that would cause others who might want to hurt your family from knowing that they can’t enter the city of your home and hurt your family. Knowing too much about your family opens you and your children up to deep hurt.
I know that keeping the city of your private life closed is not popular today, but you must keep guards against being too open. Remember, whoever knows everything about you has the best knowledge of how to destroy you. You can always open the book to your life, but you don’t have to show all the pages. Keeping a mystique in your life with others is what keeps respect between each other.