Who knows the thoughts you're keeping
You're reaching out your hand 'cause someone's calling
Don't open your eyes too soon 'cause it might be me
The darkened sidestreets that you've taken
Faces all around say you're forsaken
You see yourself and someone else behind you
Don't open your eyes too soon it might not be m
-Kansas (listen here)
Last month, 32 men were busted in an Internet child sex sting in Leesburg, FL (80 miles north of Tampa). One of them was Brian Weiss who worked selling luxury boxes for the Buccaneers. You can see in this video that he knew his life was over as soon as he saw the cops. How this works is that a police officer (usually some fat 52-year-old grandfather) goes online pretending to be a 14-year-old girl. It doesn't take much effort to get these guys to come over to a house to meet a teen girl home alone.
This incident motivated me to watch some of the old Dateline: To Catch A Predator episodes on Youtube. I looked at them through the prism of addiction and sin, two things of which I am familiar.
The first thing you notice is the universality of sin. These guys are red, yellow, black and white, cancer doctors to the unemployed, married with kids and single, all four branches of the service, Christian pastors, rabbis and good Muslims from Egypt and Turkey. Middle school and high school teachers. Even a guy who was wearing a Sikh headdress. One guy had cerebral palsy. More than a few in law enforcement.
For all the bad press Catholic priests are getting on this issue, not a single one showed up in any of these episodes. And many of these guys seem to be fans of Mike's Hard Lemonade.
The second thing you notice is the power of sin. In later episodes, Dateline was getting guys who had watched previous stings on TV and still came. Some of them even recognized the host, Chris Hanson as soon as they saw him. Registered sex offenders. A guy who got busted in an earlier Dateline sting showed up again. One guy, whose online activity cause the organization hired by Dateline, Perverted Justice to warn him to stay off the web, drove by the house and saw a guy getting arrested in the driveway and still went in!
I am reminded of what Paul said in Romans 7:7-25 about his own struggles with sin. I am thankful not only that the sin that I still struggle with won't cause me to end up in jail, but that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.