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Sin and the Secret Service

April 23, 2012

The secret service has been keeping a secret.  The cat is out of the bag.  The recent scandal in which as many as 23 US security personnel, including secret service agents, have allegedly hired as many as 21 prostitutes in Cartagena, Columbia.   Investigations have ensued.  Everyone wants to know how this could have occurred. 

I have read several commentaries by pundits who seem to have quick and easy answers.  Even today, Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Carolyn Maloney wonder if part of the problem is that only 11% of secret service agents are women.  Collins says, “I can’t help but wonder if there’d been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened” (http://www.freep.com/article/20120423/NEWS07/120423013/Following-Secret-Service-scandal-more-likely-to-leave-soon). 

 This misses the heart of the problem.  The problem is that we have tainted hearts.  The problem is not external  It’s within us. 

The Bible calls the problem sin.  OK, I get it.  Sin is supposedly an out-dated concept.  When  a person speaks about sin in today’s word they are instantly labeled a radical, narrow-minded fundamentalist.  I’m not referring to sin because I like beating people over the head with my moral code.  I bring it up because I truly believe it would be helpful for all of us to understand the true nature of life failures.  It would help us all better understand evil in the world, the frailty of our heroes, and the demons in our own lives.  If we can understand how sin has tainted all of us, it would actually make the world a better place. 

Now, I realize that many people will point out that the concept of sin has created superiority in many condescending religious people.  What’s my response to this?  I totally agree!  The Pharisees, who were the self-righteous religious opponents of Jesus, are a good example.  When the concept of sin is used in this manner, then it is abused.  However, when sin is properly understood, the result is a compelling humility by all of us.  Why?  Because we all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and we all continue to struggle with sin (1 John 1:8).  We all have this disease, including our heroes.  So who of us can feel superior?  The concept of sin shouldn’t cause hate, but rather, it should create humility.

So, would it have changed the situation if we had more women in the secret service?  Let me assure you that I am not against women in the secret service.  Increase the number of women in the secret service if you want to.  I’m for it.  However, I don’t think it will solve our problem.  Why?  Because once again we think that the problem is the external situation rather than our internal state.  Once again, society will try to manufacture right living through behavior control to ease our own conscience.  It simply can’t be done.  Until the root of our failures are addressed we will continue to make the same mistakes.

You see, sin is not only a misstep here or there.  It is a disease that controls the very way we think and feel.  The missteps are symptoms of the disease.  It is a life posture toward selfishness.  This selfishness eventually gives way to addiction to felt desires.  When this happens, the mind becomes stupid and is unable to function logically.  That’s why people do dumb things.  When I see a scandal like this one, I don’t think to myself, “how dare they commit such wrongdoing.”  I actually think, “their disease is in us all – save us  from ourselves, Lord.”

I certainly don’t expect the media, the government, or even the US populace to get this concept.  We will punish the wrongdoers, feel better about ourselves, and pretend that the problem is solved.  But it won’t be.  The perpetrators will be sorrowful but not transformed.  We will replace those security agents with others who are also frail.  I understand the need for such action.  In fact, it is the sinful state of the human heart that demands accountability and repercussions for the protection of others.  However, as a Christian, I am fully aware that nothing will really be different.

This is why I believe in Jesus.  Not because I hate sinners, but because I struggle with sin.  I have found nothing else deals with the root of my heart condition.  Will power, threats, punishment, rejection, repercussions, discipline, and shame have not worked.  They are just behavior modifications that do not treat my disease.  The only cure for the price of sin is the grace of God lavished upon us that offers Jesus as our substitute so that the punishment of sin is removed.  The only cure for the power of sin’s control is a heart with desires that have been transformed by the compelling beauty, goodness, and love of Jesus to make Him our treasure.

The secret of the secret service is not really a secret at all.  We all just pretend it is.  The disease in them is in every human being.  The problem is within us.  Until our hearts change, nothing else will really change.  Only Jesus can change us from within.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ryan permalink
    April 23, 2012 12:09 pm

    Great post! Society often tries to remedy an issue by addressing the “people”issue (race, gender, religion) but overlooks the “human” issue. We are all sinners, and life consists of a constant struggle between our natural desires and our attempts to live Christ-like lives. We will all fall down, but we have a savior who is gracious and forgiving!

  2. April 23, 2012 1:04 pm

    It is important that we remember to pray for our national leaders (and ourselves) to be protected from sin and drawn toward the will of God. Thanks for your post.

  3. Sandy Whitlock permalink
    April 23, 2012 5:50 pm

    You are so right. Thank you for reminding me. Love you and Thanks also for your 2 sermons on Sunday. They were just what was needed, for me anyway.

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