It was the hack heard ’round the world.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned yesterday as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after reports surfaced that she made disparaging remarks about Bernie Sanders during the presidential primaries. The DNC claims that Russians were behind the hack that exposed her private emails. The FBI is investigating.
This is not the first time cybercrime has made headlines. Today’s Washington Post notes that Chinese hackers breached computers at the US Office of Personnel Management last year, exposing the data of twenty-two million current and former federal employees and their families. The year before, North Korean hackers accessed the network of Sony Pictures entertainment, leaking embarrassing emails about celebrities.
According to Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, “We are in the midst of a revolution of the cyber threat—one that is growing more persistent, more diverse, more frequent and more dangerous every day.” Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith says the DNC hack could represent a new front in this cyberwar, as foreign governments could manipulate votes, voter data, or electronic ballots.
One fact this story makes clear is that our private statements seldom stay private. As Jesus noted, “Nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17). That’s why it is so important that we guard our hearts “with all vigilance” (Proverbs 4:23). When we compromise with sin, the sin always wins.
Here’s an example. When Joshua and the children of Israel took possession of their Promised Land, “They did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer” (Joshua 16:10). Moses warned them that the pagan nations they did not remove from the land would tempt them with their idolatry (Joshua 6:17–18). Tragically, his warning came to pass. Over time the Jewish people adopted the sins of the Canaanites, incurring the judgment of God and the loss of their land.
But Scripture promises that God forgives all we confess (1 John 1:9) and forgets all he forgives (Isaiah 43:25). Why couldn’t the people simply confess their sins and be forgiven?
The consequences of sin remain even when they are forgiven by God. If I drive a nail into a plank of wood, you can pull out the nail but the hole remains. Our sins always affect those who did not commit them.
That’s why we are to “learn not the way of the nations” for “the customs of the people are vanity” (Jeremiah 10:2, 3). Rather, we are to warn sinners of the consequences of their sins (v. 11). But we are to do so with humility, recognizing that there is no sin we cannot commit (Titus 3:3). We are saved by God’s mercy, not our merit (vs. 5–7). As the bumper sticker says, Christians aren’t perfect—just forgiven.
Who are the Canaanites in your life?
NOTE: Nick Pitts, our Director of Cultural Engagement, is reporting this week from the Democratic National Convention. For more, see our Facebook page.