On February 18, 2003, I remember hearing the disturbing news that Robert Hanssen, a 25-year veteran of the FBI and expert in counterintelligence, had been arrested on espionage charges. He was accused of passing top-secret information to the Soviet Union, starting in 1985. Federal agents apprehended him at a Virginia park just minutes after he left a package under a wooden footbridge, which investigators say was a drop site for delivering secret documents to his Russian handlers.
As the information on Hanssen poured out, we learned he was a faithful church member who attended services every week. In addition, he was a member of Opus Dei, a conservative religious order that was strongly anti-communist and stresses moral righteousness. Sunday after Sunday, I have to wonder if Robert Hanssen really heard what was being said at his church. Do you?
In Matthew 13:14, 15 Jesus talks about people who are like Hanssen. He says some crowds that gathered around Him will be ever hearing but never understanding; ever seeing but never perceiving. There will always be people who won’t get what Jesus is saying which is why he said what he did in verse 15.
“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” NIV
In my lifetime, it seems there’s been a moral disconnect between faith and action in much of the Christian culture in this country. People hardly hear with their ears, because they have closed their eyes. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Jesus talked about the heart or soul of a person becoming calloused by only being a hearer of the word.
I think minding the gap between hearing and understanding or seeing but not perceiving is being compromised by the sin against having common sense. James wants every believer to have common sense and there’s nothing like the Bible and walking with Jesus for developing that.
But mankind has a bent to live in a destructive self-delusion. How sad if believers do that too. Isn’t this a lack of common sense in the believer who lives like that?