About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Covering Up Sin  


There are many things we learn about human nature from Adam and Eve's sin that is recorded in Genesis 3.  One thing we learn is that as irrational as it was, they tried to hide themselves and their sin from God.  From then on, covering up sin has been basic to human nature. 


The word "cover-up" got a lot of press in the 1970's when then Republican President Richard Nixon lied to cover up his association with the Watergate break-in.  Anyone who is old enough may recall Nixon's most famous words.  "I am not a crook."  What a tragic phrase to be remembered by.    


On the Democratic side of the aisle President Bill Clinton lied in an attempt to cover up his adulterous affair with Monica Lewinski in the 1990's.  Some of you may recall his most famous words.  "I never had sex with that woman."  Well, that depends on one's definition of having sex. 


Both Nixon and Clinton refused to admit to their sin until they were trapped in a corner and their sin was exposed for all to see.  Only then did they utter a reluctant confession, but that's human nature.  We are all reluctant to admit to being in the wrong.      


Clinton's cover-up was bad enough but what really disturbed me back then, and still disturbs me in today's world of cover-ups, is how Clinton's supporters ignored his adultery.  They claimed that his sin was not a matter of his public life but a matter of his private life, as if one's private life is separate and distinct from one's public life.  As long as Clinton promoted the causes of his supporters they would ignore his sin.


The problem with separating your private life from your public life is that there is no separation.  Who you are in private is who you really are, and who you really are will sooner or later be exposed in public.  If Bill Clinton could lie to his wife and cheat on her, he could lie to the public and cheat on those he was elected to serve.  


When thinking of these things I am reminded of John the Baptist.  He knew about King Herod's adultery, but unlike many people today, he did not sweep Herod's sin aside in order to stay in his good graces.  I would think that John might have appreciated some of the things that Herod did for the Jews, but despite his appreciation, he still confronted Herod with the truth of his sin, and for that he was beheaded.   


There are a few things we as Christians can learn from all of this.  One thing is that we must admit to our sin.  It is what repentance is all about.  If there is no admission to sin, there is no repentance.  Another thing we learn is that we cannot ignore sin, even if we benefit from the one committing the sin.  We may not all be called to a prophetic ministry like John the Baptist, but we are all called to stand on the side of truth no matter the consequences.        

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