Busted! Now what?

August 4th, 2011 · by Tom Stuart · Growth & Development, Overcoming

“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it.” (Jeremiah 17:9)  ESV

I got busted yesterday.  While going through airport security the TSA spotted something suspicious in my backpack.  I was pulled aside and given a full body scan and pat down search.  An amiable agent with gloved hand proceeded to gingerly empty my pack piece by piece, a pocket at a time.  At the outset he asked me if I had any item that was sharp or used for cutting.  I politely replied “No, not to my knowledge.”  When I said that, I was reasonably assured because I have traveled with that backpack numerous times.

To my chagrin however, the methodical agent did find the sharp, cutting item he was looking for.  It was a small red Swiss army pocket knife.  You know the kind – no more than an inch and a half long, just big enough to hold a tooth pick and tiny tweezers in slots on each side.  I apologized explaining I was not aware it was there.  Holding it in the palm of his hand he asked if I had someone still at the airport I wanted to give it to; otherwise he added, he would have to keep it.  I said “No, that’s alright . . . thank you for doing your job.”

I really did not give the incident and loss of the knife a second thought.  With several of those little red knives at home and one actually on my key ring, all my teeth picking needs would still be adequately covered.

My mind was preoccupied with more important things – breakfast.  After repacking my backpack I made a beeline for the concourse McDonalds to enjoy some pancakes and sausage before making my way to the boarding gate.

As I was savoring my meal I unconsciously licked the syrup from my plastic knife and was startled when the serrated edge cut me as it brushed the corner of my mouth. “Dumb” I admonished myself . . . but that got me to thinking.  I had just passed through security where they are on the hunt for items that are sharp and cutting.  My little knife was confiscated, and justifiably so, because it could be used as a weapon to hijack a plane, the way the 911 hijackers used box cutters to wreck havoc on our nation 10 years ago. 

But here, beyond our now elaborate security system, a person with evil intent could still arm themselves with a McDonald’s plastic knife.  And there are even more lethal “weapons” outlets beyond security than the Golden Arches.  I noticed a bar/restaurant right next to my gate that had tables neatly set with real silverware – knives and forks and a wine bottle to boot as the centerpiece.  It’s obvious to imagine that any person, whose heart is set on doing evil, could easily assemble an arsenal with real cutting and stabbing instruments, including jagged glass.  That is both sobering and disturbing to me.  Our elaborate airport security, in reality, except for the grace and mercy of God, cannot ultimately protect us from an evil heart.  They can deter it, but not eradicate it.

We have all been busted at one time or other – caught red handed doing things we should not be doing.  And it’s good for us and others around us that we are.  Hopefully it will help discourage us from doing such things again. 

But realistically the threat of getting caught will not change our desire to do evil.  Ultimately, like terrorist hijackers, we will go into hiding until we find more creative ways to carry out our evil intentions.  When it comes to sin, the adage “Where there is a will there is a way” certainly applies.  All the laws and law enforcement agencies in the world, even religious ones, cannot stop everyone from doing evil.  Our overpopulated court systems and prisons are testimonies to that.

Jeremiah the prophet wrestled with the same perplexing problem, in having to deal with the stubborn waywardness of the Israelites.  He wrote “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)  In posing that question, he positioned himself to discover the answer.  Seven chapters later he pens this amazing promise from God for people hopelessly afflicted with a proclivity toward evil.  “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”  (Jeremiah 24:7) 

You see the only one who really understands the human heart is God.  And the only real answer to a sin sick heart is allowing God to transform it. 

Getting busted in our sin is always an invitation from God to turn to Him in repentance and through faith to experience His power of forgiveness to cleanse and transform our heart.

Do you have any thoughts on this topic?

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