Friday, August 21, 2015

Servers, Secrets and Sins

Questions and accusations regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for State Department e-mails continue to grow. Most agree that it was a poor decision at best. Others say it shows a lack of judgment and a disregard for both the law and the national security with which she was entrusted. There are also new questions about whether her non-government issued Blackberry was secure. Issues of legality, propriety, and national security are topics of discussion in nearly every news outlet.

Mrs. Clinton has stated that no e-mails containing classified information were sent or received, which may be hard to prove or disprove. The former Secretary of State says that she is cooperating with an investigation by the FBI. However, Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer told a Senate committee that e-mails and other data stored on the server were erased before it was turned over to the FBI. Forensics experts believe some data can be retrieved.

The fallout from the server scandal could be serious. Mrs. Clinton is increasingly seen as being untrustworthy, and falling poll numbers could put her presidential run in jeopardy. Worse, there is speculation that federal charges could be filed resulting in jail time.

In an opposite situation, numerous files of information was released this week by hackers who stole data from the Ashley Madison marital cheating website. Among those who had accounts on the website was Josh Duggar of “19 Kids & Counting”, who has confessed to a secret addiction to pornography and being unfaithful to his wife. The volume of information means that
the fallout will be far-reaching, and a lot of people will be living with the consequences of their secrets.

Although Hillary Clinton claims innocence and Josh Duggar has confessed his guilt, both situations serve as an illustration of biblical truth.

Devices and data records can be destroyed or wiped clean and accounts are thought to be private, but nothing can be kept secret from God. Even things that are done behind closed doors are not hidden from Him. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) “‘Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

Even our thoughts are not hidden from God. “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) “He knows the secrets of the heart,” according to Psalm 44:21.

Someday, all the data and activity from our lives will be made public. “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 9:14) “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” (Revelation 20:12)

For some, the records are revealed even sooner. As Josh Duggar now knows, God will not allow private sin to continue if it dishonors Him. In exhorting the children of Israel to do all the Lord had commanded, Moses cautioned, “…if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Number 32:23) Paul wrote, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

The good news is that the record can be permanently wiped clean. “But this Man (Jesus Christ), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,’ says the Lord…‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” (Hebrews 10:12, 16) God sees all our sins, but when we put our trust in Christ as personal Savior, the evidence is destroyed and He forgets it ever existed! There can be no punishment if the evidence is gone.

Even sins committed by a child of God can be wiped away. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Bad decisions can have serious and sobering consequences. Accepting Christ as personal Savior is a decision with guaranteed joyful consequences – sins forgiven and eternal life with the Lord!

Gayle Virkler