Recently, I’ve been following the devastating story of a US Christian personality who’s been on trial facing charges of child sexual assault. Yesterday, he was given a 40-year sentence and in summing up, the judge said, “I’m having a lot of trouble trying to reconcile two people in one orange jumpsuit before me; there’s the Christian man with a reputation as a value-driven individual. But there is something else going on that is filthy…obscene. I don’t get it. I don’t get where you went off”.
The prosecution said that this man lived a ‘double life’. By day he was married, expecting a child and sharing truth in a very public setting. But behind the scenes, he was plotting to kidnap a child and do the unthinkable.
“I don’t get where you went off…”
The judge’s words sum it up for me; Where does this stuff start? How does someone manage to (seemingly) successfully live a double life, without one part intruding into another? Where does it begin?
I wonder if in part, it all begins with a secret.
David (in the Bible) had a secret. It’s a well-known tale; King goes for stroll, sees beautiful woman, calls for her and though she is married, they sleep together. She then gets pregnant. What a flippin mess…
What starts out as a second glance, a little secret between two people, quickly escalates into a PR nightmare. If the lid is blown off this, he’s in serious trouble. Horrifically, it snowballs from there. David tries (unsuccessfully) to lure Uriah (Bathsheba’s hubby) home from battle, in the hope he’ll fall gratefully into his wife’s arms; wink, wink, nudge,nudge. Ta da, Bathsheba then becomes ‘pregnant’.
But Uriah isn’t that easy to convince and eventually David is left with no choice, but to finish the job. He signs the order for Uriah to be killed.
Job done. None was the wiser. Everyone would assume Bathsheba’s baby was the child of her dead husband. The secret was safe.
The Bible says, ‘the thing David did, displeased God greatly’ and so He sent Nathan the prophet to offer a pretty dire warning. Nathan reminds David that God has given him everything, anointed him, blessed him, rescued him and saved him. But somehow that still wasn’t enough: he still had to steal something from another man.
There’s a lot more to this story (the whole thing is recorded in 2 Samuel 11), but perhaps it all began to spiral dangerously out of control, on the day that David decided to keep a secret. Did he think somehow that God wasn’t watching as all this unfolded? That God didn’t see?
I wonder how much of it could have been avoided if he remembered that with God, there are no secrets. We can think no one’s looking, no one sees and maybe it doesn’t really matter. David’s story says otherwise. Dirty little secrets have a way of floating to the surface, eventually.
But, the truly amazing part of this story, is that no matter how badly we screw up, there’s still always a chance to put it right. David had an affair, murdered an innocent man, and told lie upon lie upon lie. But when confronted, he knew the game was up, and though there were terrible consequences and a very heavy price to pay, God eventually restored him.
The opportunity for restitution is always there (that’s the whole point of the Cross) but perhaps its wise to nip ‘secrets’ in the bud before they spin dangerously out of control. Got a secret? Maybe it’s time to come clean, and put things right?