Secret Service Brought Down by Secret Services
There could hardly be a greater paradox than members of the prestigious and highly esteemed Secret Service, those handpicked to provide the ultimate security for the President of the United States, being exposed for breach of duty by Colombian escorts hired for their own version of secret services.
Initial reports indicate the incident was discovered following a failed negotiation for payment of $800 after “services rendered.” While prostitution is legal in Colombia, these men take an oath not to commit acts that would embarrass the United States and are vaunted for their absolute trustworthiness.
I am amazed at the breathtaking naïveté by which these professionals were brought down. Their hope for accomplishing this off-duty transgression without detection was the thin cloak of…secrecy. How could these men, of all people, have not known that such activities would eventually be discovered?
The fallacy that sin can be kept “secret” has lured legions of men and women into the same trap for centuries.
The Lord told Moses that sins are never secret; even if others are unaware, the Lord certainly knows about them: “But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will surely find you out.”1
How badly this wisdom needs to be remembered and embraced in the world today—the simplicity of “keeping your word” and living with a healthy fear that your “sin will surely find you out.”
Ron Fournier and Sophie Quinton recently wrote a penetrating article in National Journal on the current epidemic of lost trust in the American culture. The article, “In Nothing We Trust,” focuses on how Americans are losing faith in the institutions that made this country great. I think the article is largely correct. It covers many areas where trust has been lost, specifically the decline of mainline denominational churches that once comprised a strong American institution. Still, the article fails to reach the root issue.
That issue is implied in the title of the article—Americans have moved from a nation that placed its trust in God to one that trusts in nothing but our empty institutions or worse—ourselves. That’s a failure that will yield bitter fruit until a time of widespread repentance. As a nation, we must to come to our senses before we are trapped by our own misplaced trust.
Moving into the Light
The truth that our sins will find us out was vividly brought to life in Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. You’ll recall that ghost after ghost tormented the soul of Ebenezer Scrooge for his deeds done in darkness. His transgressions were not forgotten and, once remembered, his heart was changed. He was transformed from a miserable wretch who only trusted in his position, skills and money to a man with a higher purpose. He became willing to lavishly share with others and was liberated from his secret sins through repentance. The story concludes with scenes of unrestrained joy that come from righteous deeds done in the light.
Years ago, a mentor taught me what he called, “The New York Times Test.” It was a simple question, “If the decision or the action that you are about to take on behalf of this company were to appear on the front page headlines of The New York Times, would you be comfortable with it?” The “test” forced you to consider your decision or action open to the scrutiny of others. If the thought made you the least bit uncomfortable, then you would best decide otherwise.
True integrity steers clear of all gray areas, even if it’s assumed that secrecy can be maintained. Brazilian Pastor Reginaldo Kruklis taught me that gray areas are like the warning track on a baseball field; they let you know that you’re getting close to a dangerous collision.
Beyond the embarrassment, there will be consequences for the men who fell into the trap of “secret sins.” Many of these once trusted professionals will lose their jobs and may never regain their credibility. There will certainly be much closer scrutiny of the Secret Service for years to come.
There is always a cost for unfaithfulness, especially when faithfulness is the very thing expected of you. Let us remember that nothing is secret from God and that the hope of our nation is a return to walking in the Light.
1Numbers 32:23 NLT