A passage of Scripture that immediately came to mind when I read an article about human trafficking and Jared Fogle’s plea for leniency is Ephesians 4:17-19:
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Biblical counselors quote Ephesians 4:20-24 a whole lot but what precedes this passage is what is quoted above. The Gentiles in v. 17 is referring to those who do not know Christ and are not born again. Christ-followers cannot live in the manner that Gentiles do because Gentiles (lost persons) are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life that God calls a believer to live due to their hardness of hearts toward God and others. This type of living leads to one becoming callous and living in a very sensual, pleasure-filled manner that is never satisfied by its impurities and greedily pursued.
So when I read that Mr. Fogle submitted a plea asking for leniency for his crimes, it made sense: he probably is callous thinking his crimes weren’t any big deal because he didn’t commit murder or something “big like that type of crime.” Of course, I’m guessing here but based upon what he submitted, it sure sounds like minimization and not like someone who really has an awareness of the pain he inflicted to children and others. It is a darkened mind.
That’s the lesson for us. Sin darkens our minds. That’s why we’ve got to live in the light! We cannot isolate and seek our own desires as Proverbs 18:1 illuminates: Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. Instead, we must live in the community of other believers and family with people who will tell us “no” and help us to live disciplined lifestyles for the glory of Christ. We, too, fellow Christ-followers, can choose to live in sin and follow the pattern of a Gentile or a Jared Fogle – except for God’s grace, we would be right there.
-Mark E. Shaw (grateful for the community of the church and the Word of God that brings conviction by the power of the Holy Spirit)