Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is now receiving the kind of notoriety he never sought or achieved during his political career. He has been indicted for lying to federal authorities about cash withdrawals that were allegedly used as hush money in an attempt to hide sexual misconduct in his past.
I’m not concerned with the specifics of Speaker Hastert’s misconduct, which, by the way, he has yet to deny. What strikes me is that his situation is very much a cautionary tale for any Christian, and especially those in public life.
Let’s assume for the purpose of this discussion that there is truth behind the allegations now being made against the former Speaker, and that he was attempting to cover up wrong-doing that, if revealed, would have blasted a reputation for probity earned over decades to smithereens.
It is entirely normal for someone held in high public esteem to do whatever he can to maintain that position. But Dennis Hastert should have known from the beginning that he could not be successful in hiding the truth.
Why? Because Hastert has for many years proclaimed himself to be a Christian. And God Himself says He will not allow those who bear the name of His Son to get away with hiding egregiously ungodly behavior.
Look at the testimony of Scripture:
John 3:20-21 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Luke 12:3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
Num 32:23 But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.
If the accusations against him are true, Dennis Hastert has lived a lie for many years. It’s not unlikely that his commitment to Christ is real. In fact, his desire to not dishonor that commitment may have played a role in his decision to try to cover up the misdeeds of his earlier days. But trying to hide sin is exactly the wrong way to go about it.
Prov 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
Confess, forsake, and seek God’s mercy. That’s the only answer for those in public life (or anyone else) who have some grave sin in their lives that they are in terror of seeing revealed. There is no successful hiding of sins for a Christian. One day they will be brought into the light.
Be sure your sin will find you out.
That’s not a possibility, or even a probability. It’s a promise of God.