Winking at Sin
In the past century, the world has faced many dangers. In the 1930s, the global economy seemed hopelessly broken. In the 1940s, Hitler and Japan were going to take over the world. During the Cold War days, we feared a nuclear attack from the Reds. In the new century, the fear of radical Islam has become a major concern.
I think the greatest danger facing us is the simple inability to blush at sin. We have reached a point where people have absolutely no shame about their immoral lifestyles. We may have dodged all these other calamities in the past, but there is no escaping the consequences of unchecked immorality.
Years ago, it would have been a career-ending event for a popular entertainer to be arrested for any major crime. Today, celebrities are constantly in the headlines for some devious vice, and are given the cheeky titles of "bad boy" or "bad girl." Actor Charlie Sheen is one example. He has been in trouble for everything from drugs to domestic violence. One woman he was once dating mysteriously was shot in the arm. Despite all these troubles, Sheen remains the main star of the top-rated show, Two and a Half Men.
The whole criminal system winks at sin all the time. Five months ago, a judge in Scotland let the Lockerbie bomber out of jail--enraging the loved ones of his victims on Pan Am Flight 103. Ali Mohmed al Megrahi had been handed a life sentence after being found guilty in the December 21, 1988, murders of 259 passengers and crew, plus another eleven people on the ground. Unnamed Scottish doctors erroneously predicted that he’d be dead from terminal prostate cancer. Well, they must have miracle-workers in Libya, because five months later, the bomber is alive and living quietly at home. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has demanded that Megrahi be returned forthwith to prison in Scotland, but that's not going to happen.
A man in Lexington, Kentucky, is another example of how bad we are at handling criminal behavior. Henry Earl has become an internet sensation for the sheer number of times he's been arrested. In 2008, he made big news when a public alcohol intoxication rap was thought to put him over the mark of committing his one-thousandth crime. If someone bakes a cake, he needs to add a lot more candles. The Smoking Gun clarified that Earl has actually been arrested 1,333 times since his first arrest in 1970 for carrying a concealed weapon. Since then, he has added several more offenses to his long list. On average, Earl is out of jail about two days before he lands back behind bars again. Instead of being a frequent visitor, he needs to become a permanent resident.
Seventy-five-year-old Floyd Crawford has also made a lifetime of crime. He has only been booked 403 times. What makes him noteworthy is his predictability for getting arrested. Time after time, he does just enough to get another thirty days in jail to keep out of the elements. This keeps Crawford out of the cold, but for the taxpayer, the costs add up. He gets three meals a day, laundry, and personal hygiene products. In Midwest City, jail officials say they spend $42 a day on each inmate.
The world's unwillingness to deal with sin has a direct relationship to our proximity to the tribulation hour. God has His own timing for everything, but any fool can tell that the Lord of the universe is not going to stand aside and let His creation mock His laws.
The danger that comes with living in a society that winks at sin is that you lose track of how deserving we are of judgment. Moral failing is a sign of the time, and it is hard to notice this indicator when so many people are happy to be moral reprobates.
"Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time [that] I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 6:15).
Brit Hume's Strong Stance
It was heartening last week to see long-time newsman Brit Hume witness to viewers the power of Jesus Christ. The journalist, now-retired television news anchor for Fox News who still serves as opinion commentator on occasion, spoke to a question about the troubled golf star Tiger Woods. When asked what advice he might have for Woods--a man beset by problems stemming from moral failings, by his own admission--Hume said his advice would be to turn to Christianity, because therein is offered forgiveness and reconciliation. Hume threw in that Woods had some linkage to Buddhism, although he, Hume, didn't know to what extent Woods was a practicing Buddhist. Hume intimated that there isn't forgiveness in that religion, but that there is forgiveness, after repentance, in Jesus Christ. That, Hume said, is who Tiger Woods needs.
Here is part of Hume's exact words of advice:
The extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith...He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be, "Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
To be frank, it was a shock--not because we found out in that revealing moment that Brit Hume is a believer, but that he would be so forthcoming when the question was put directly to him. Also, I was surprised that the others in the panel on Fox News Sunday and the host--whom I believe was Chris Wallace; I don't remember--didn't take exception. Hume's was an extremely politically incorrect thing to say. It seemed to me that the question and the answer was almost set up for presenting Hume's thoughts on the matter.
I do, as a matter of fact, believe it was set up--but, not by Wallace or by Hume. I believe the God of the universe set up the situation. It was a defining moment in television history, in my view.
This is indeed an evil day. Television in general is at the center of presenting that evil to viewers in America and the world.. TV news reports on the evil often seem to exude delight in and exaggeration of the evil for purposes of audience ratings.
So, it was with an "Amen!" that I greeted Mr. Hume's standing strong when the question was asked.. He didn't equivocate. He just laid it right out there. "Jesus Christ is the answer to all of the problems of all of mankind" was the message viewers should take from that amazing, Holy Spirit-given moment of truth for this evil day.
Fox News and Brit Hume received accolades for the message, but as expected, the vitriol flew from the blogosphere and beyond. Hume was on "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday evening to again comment on the matter of his words about Tiger Woods and Christianity. The show's host, Bill O'Reilly, asked the journalist about the accusations that he was proselytizing. Hume said:
Tiger Woods is somebody I've always rooted for. ...Now we know that the content of his character was not what we thought it was. He is paying a frightful price for these revelations. My sense is that he has basically lost his family. ...My sense about Tiger is that he needs something that Christianity, especially, provides and gives and offers. And that is redemption.
O'Reilly went on to indicate that while Fox News had received many positive comments, the anger was even more forthcoming. O'Reilly asked Hume why he thought the mention of Christianity can so anger people. The TV journalist said that it's a mystery why there should be such anger to Jesus Christ and His message.
I wanted to shout at the screen "John 15: 18-22! That's why the hatred!"
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (John 15:18-25)
Brit Hume is likely not well versed in readily being able to give Bible answers to questions like that posed by Bill O'Reilly. But, nonetheless, he--even if unknowingly--lived, in those few minutes on the two programs, before a hostile world the exhortation of Paul the apostle: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).
In prefacing the Hume interview with praise for the journalist, O'Reilly said that Hume is a Washington D.C. insider who is quite popular with his fellow "insiders." One must wonder whether that is still true after his stand for Jesus Christ. One thing sure, Brit Hume's stand for Christ is popular in the golden halls of the heavenly throne room.