Good news is hard to come by in our society today. It seems like all we get is bad news and plenty of it! That’s hard to take, especially when the bad news involves the failures of our leaders, the people we expect to set the example for the rest of us. And when the failures involve some of our top military commanders it’s even more depressing. Not that we expect all of our military leaders to be saints but with the military’s code of conduct, rigid discipline, and culture of honor and honesty, if they fail then what hope do we have to be led by men of integrity, morality and honesty?
Here is what we know so far: A general, perhaps the most respected and decorated military man of our generation has fallen into moral failure and as a result has resigned his position as one of our countries most important leaders. It didn’t take long for the media to dig up the name of his mistress. From there they went after the woman she had threatened. Now another top military commander has been drawn into the web by his association with the second woman. That’s four families – not four individuals, but for families (and more if you consider their children, grandchildren, parents, siblings and friends) who are now part of the story and who will be affected to varying degrees. Where will it stop? Will more people be caught up in the scandal?
Several statements from scripture are relevant to this story. The first is be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23). It was a warning to Israel that if they failed to do what God had told them to do, He would know and they should expect Him to do something about it! God’s judgments often come in unexpected ways. Is it possible that public exposure, shame and loss of position are God’s way of judging the sin?
The second statement that relates here is the Apostle Paul’s reminder not to give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27). As Christians we are not exempt from sin, especially the sins of the flesh, and Satan knows exactly where we are the most vulnerable. The truth is that we are no match for his cunning. The best way to handle Satan is not to let him get a foot in the door to begin with – just don’t give him a place in your life. Playing with sin is like playing with fire. Eventually you are going to get burned.
Another applicable statement from scripture comes from the writer of Hebrews who warned us to be careful lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled (Hebrews 12:15). Although he was addressing the specific sin of bitterness, his words are instructive as they relate to every kind of sin. Whenever we allow a sin to grow in our lives its effect will be like ripples of water on a pond continually expanding outward. The word defiled means to be contaminated. It’s obvious that one adulterous affair has contaminated many lives beyond just the two individuals involved. That’s just the way sin is. It’s far-reaching and extensive in its impact.
This story, as with many stories involving sin, reminds me of children playing with dominoes, standing them in a line, one after another, until suddenly and often unexpectedly, one of them falls. When the first one falls they all fall, one after the other. How many more dominoes will fall before this story is finished? It’s too early to tell. What’s sad is that if the people involved had made the right choices, the godly choices, none of the dominoes needed to fall.
Pray for the people who have been, and will yet be, affected by this tragedy. Pray that God will open their eyes to His truth and that their lives will forever be changed. What man has done that has been harmful, God can use for His glory (Genesis 50:20). And remember that each of us is but one decision from our own tragic, life-changing story.
Stay in the Word