The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an institution that use to resonate with fidelity, bravery and integrity, three attributes which are still printed on their seal. During their long introductory period under J. Edgar Hoover, they were very well known for success in apprehending dangerous criminals during the gangster era. They held a high standard of ethics and morals, and if you saw the old story with Jimmy Stewart playing an FBI agent, that is the way it truly was. Their dress, manner and professionalism were respected throughout our nation, and later on by the world. Hoover had a comical book written about himself after his long tenure of leadership called “No Left Turns.” The title came from the true story that Hoover was in a car accident involving a left turn, so he ordered his chauffer to make only right turns. Yes, that is right, he would make three right turns rather than a left turn. Now, figure that into Washington, D.C.’s plethora of one way streets, circles, and unique traffic patterns. How would you like to be Hoover’s chauffer? Another true story in the book tells of Hoover entering an elevator with FBI agents at their headquarters building. Hoover saw a man on the elevator dressed in a bright red suit. After exiting the elevator he asked his peers: “Who was that red breasted rooster?” The agents told him who he was and Hoover responded that he wanted him fired immediately, and of course he was indeed terminated on the spot.
Along with the rest of the country, the Bureau lost its’ conservativeness and high moral standards during the 1970’s. Although the FBI still had better standards than many other agencies and bureaus, the direction of our culture affected all government agencies. When I worked there, our divisions were called one by one for an in service training that was called the “sliding scale.” My peers and I were the benefactors of “take home cars” because of the need to respond to different places everyday. The official FBI rule was that one was to take their vehicle straight home from their work site, stopping ONLY for gasoline. But, as so often happens, unofficial “rules” are added and/or modified. Later, it was “said” that we were allowed one stop. If you can see one stop eventually becoming two, you are getting the picture! Before you know it, people were not heading home, but stopping off to see friends, go shopping and attend events, and not necessarily in the homebound direction. Or suppose you get home on a winter’s day and your wife says: Honey, we need bread and milk.” Your choice is to clean the snow and ice off of your car and warm it up, OR just take the Bureau steed which is all ready to go. Sooner or later some employee will have an accident. If the accident was not on the way home, there is the temptation for the one involved to not report it, and even have repair work done on their own so no one finds out. Our in service training hit the nail on the head. The Sliiiiiiiding scale! We start out as employees who obey the rules and take pride in our job. Then we cut corners. Eventually we are abusing and blatantly disobeying the rules. It does not happen overnight. It is not a blowout, it is a slow leak…….
Is this not the way it is in the Christian life? We Baptists have a name for the identical situation in our lives—— it is called backsliding. We never intended to leave the sheepfold, but we gradually fall away from a close walk with the Lord. I have found one particular sin that can lead to many others; it is not an outward sin but an inward one. It is discouragement. Everybody around me is doing the wrong thing and they seem to be getting away with it. Have you ever thought that way? Read Psalm 37 and Psalm 73. Their day of reckoning is coming down the pike. It is right around the corner. Here is a scripture we need to live by: “Be ye not weary in well doing, for ye shall reap in due season if ye faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) All born again Christians struggle with sins of the flesh. How do we do combat in this battle? Read the Bible continually. “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17) Forsake not the fellowshipping and worshipping with other Christians (Hebrews 10:25). Share your faith with others—- you will do this automatically when you are walking close with the Lord. Be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit in all you do. Do these things 24/7/365 and you will not give Satan an opportunity to steer you off course. When we walk with the Lord we shine. If you see a bother or sister who does not seem to be themselves, then pray for them, befriend them and talk to them. I may be struggling today and you may have challenges tomorrow. One hand washes the other. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) In The Name Of Jesus, Pastor Steve