During my morning quiet time I was reading in Ezekiel 33 and the words made me recall the Enron scandal. If you had no personal stake in energy stocks in the 90’s Enron may cause only a dim flicker of recognition. A quick reminder: “At the end of 2001, it was revealed that (Enron’s) reported financial condition was sustained substantially by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known as the 'Enron scandal'. Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations throughout the United States.”
The particular moment in the Enron scandal that came to my mind was of Ken Lay, CEO, who said as he was being led away, “I have made my peace with God.” It was this quote that came to mind as I read Ezekiel 33:10-17. Verses 12 & 13 specifically: “The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.' 13 If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done.”
Ken Lay received many awards and honors for good work and yet one substantial charge against him was “assurances Lay gave, in the months leading up to Enron's fall, to employees about the company's financial health at the same time that he was quietly unloading his own Enron stock.”
Ken Lay is just a public example of how often we consider ourselves “good people” and yet knowingly and willingly do wrong. We are quick to justify our deeds; it’s a white sin it’s no big deal, it’s an acceptable sin. Justifications alone signal we need to check our actions.
I would never argue that Ken Lay did not make peace with God. Jesus Christ came to earth to offer forgiveness when we continue to do wrong, but a mature Christian is well aware that we are supposed to turn from evil, seek what is good, act in a Christ like manner. When we knowingly do wrong, what then?
The lesson is, as we mature in our Christian walk we are made more sensitive to the easy, culturally acceptable sins and we should begin to turn from them. As we mature, God increases our sense of right and wrong. The Health of Your Spiritual Heart makes sense to the maturing Christian.
We must be careful not to fall into the belief that “a white sin, a little wrong” will be okay. Ken Lay died of a heart attack before he was sentenced for his crimes. He discovered, likely much sooner than expected, whether he did, indeed, make peace with God. Even in the privacy of our heart the truth of our motivation is known. Ezekiel’s words should not fall on deaf ears.