Pornography and the SEC

I would assume you are not used to seeing these two words together. However, a recent AP story describes how senior staffers of the Securities and Exchange Commission “spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government issued computers while they were being paid to police the financial system.”

Throughout our country’s recent economic turmoil, there have been countless accusations regarding what, in fact, led us to our current situation. I do not think any story summarizes more poignantly the microcosm of the human condition and the ultimate end of sin than this one. In Romans 6:23 the bible clearly defines death as the wages of sin. It appears evident to me that distraction is the pen with which Satan writes the check.

How many times can you remember in your own personal history where the very thing God clearly laid before you was ignored on behalf of some other thing you held in higher regard? Seriously…these guys convinced themselves that watching a woman, whom they have never met, on a computer screen, faking intimacy with another person for a matter of minutes, was more important than protecting the national interests of the country that was paying them over $200,000 a year in tax payer dollars. How true does Proverbs 29:3 ring? “A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth”. Talk about squandering wealth!

It is enough to make your skin crawl. I would suggest that if you do indeed crawl out of your skin, you might turn around and take a look at what you see. How often does Sportscenter distract you from playing with your kids? How often does shopping distract you from tending to your home? How often does lust distract you from real intimacy with your spouse? How often does selfishness distract you from God’s will for your life? The problem with sin is that it works on a continuum where boundaries are blurred.

The pervasive mentality of our generation seems to imply the end justifies the means in almost any conceivable situation. The problem with our thinking lies in the end being our own satisfaction. It seems we consider ourselves the master of our own domain and when our domain is threatened we will take any measure necessary to defend our right to do what we want. Even if that means justifying tax payer dollars to download pornography for 8 hours a day.

The striking reality of this story is the painfully obvious dichotomy of choices that existed for these people. Is there really any argument the greater good for these folks was to perform their duty with honesty, devotion and a high regard for service? How could they have deviated so far off the path?

The biblical story of David and Bathsheba seems applicable to this situation. Here we have a ruler of a country quite distracted from his duties by the beauty of a woman who belonged to another. A harmless inquiry rapidly turns to lust, adultery, lies and murder. Can we assume there were plenty of other things God had prepared for David to be engaged with during this time? Would it not be accurate to also assume that these things God had prepared were in fact more satisfying to him than consummating his lust for Bathsheba?

Hopefully we can see the more subtle distractions in our life in the same light. It seems distractions are exposed more readily in my life through the light of prayer, scripture, and the accountability of like-minded believers.

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