Today, I flew down to and back from Dallas on a one-day business trip. As most of you know, this happens at least several times a year when I visit my Dallas based client I have worked with for many years now. But I can’t help but be reminded that the last time I flew home, in April, I was seated next to Jared Fogle – the Subway guy. Yep – the same guy who has been on the news periodically the last several months for his connection to the head of his foundation – a fellow by the name of Taylor who was arrested and charged with child pornography as well as other questionable activities.
In my post following the flight with Jared, I wrote about my experience meeting him. After the incredible weight loss he had, the verse I chose for that evening had to do with honoring the bodies that God has entrusted to us. Obviously, appearances were deceiving.
Unless you have been living under a rock, at least here in central Indiana, you must know by now that in July, Jared’s home was raided by authorities for the purpose of collecting computers and other hardware that may contain information about his involvement, if any, with the former head of his foundation and the related charges Taylor was facing. Jared professed his innocence and his attorney emphatically stated that Jared had not been detained or charged with any crimes.
Apparently, that must have changed. Yesterday, the media was filled with special reports that Jared had appeared in the federal court here in Indianapolis for the purpose of admitting to crimes involving pornography and having physical relations with underage girls across the country; and perhaps beyond. My understanding is that he is in the process of accepting a plea agreement that will recommend that he spend somewhere between 5 years and 12+ years in prison.
He has also allegedly agreed to monetary restitution of at least $1.4 million to the victims and through his attorney, has “taken responsibility” for his deceptive and and horrific behavior. It just goes to show that just because someone has supposedly done something good doesn’t mean that they really are “good.” Evil lurks around every corner and we have to be on our guard every minute to make sure that we aren’t deceived.
The bottom line is that here is a guy who was disciplined enough to lose hundreds of pounds and became a national celebrity in the process. As a result of his public persona, franchisees indicate that he was responsible for almost doubling the size of the Subway chain and Jared even started a foundation in the process – dedicated to fighting childhood obesity. He travelled more than 200 days per year and by all accounts, even according to Subway corporate, was greatly responsible for their success in the market.
And then… the fall… Who knows what makes people do these horrible things! There’s no denying that while there are many horrific crimes, engaging in sexual activity with underage girls in addition to an apparent addiction to child pornography are at the top of the list that people find revolting and abhorrent. My understanding is that even convicted felons hate inmates who are guilty of child molestation. The whole thing is just a shame.
Not only has Jared apparently admitted to engaging in these activities, he even travelled great distances to stay in posh hotels meeting these underage girls while on business trips. Yesterday morning, his wife announced that she is seeking a dissolution of the marriage and will do everything she can to protect her children. By the way, this is Jared’s second marriage gone south…
Even with an estimated net worth of $15 million, I have a feeling that attorney fees and other expenses will wipe him out. To say nothing of the fact that I assume he will also have to register as a sex offender wherever he lives for the rest of his life.
Throughout history, we have other examples of people who have fallen from positions of power and admiration. One of the best examples in the Bible has to do with the warnings that the apostle John mentions in his three letters near the end of the New Testament. It seems that men of prominence in the church were starting to teach doctrine that was not authentic to the teachings of Jesus. And what made this so insidious was the fact that these imposters were not coming from outside the church – they were actual members of the church who were convinced that they knew more than the disciples who actually walked and talked with Jesus.
John would have none of that and made it clear that we were to test one another to make sure that the things everyone was doing were in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. And let’s face it – even the strongest among us, when tempted time after time after time, can eventually fall – just as Jared did. Satan doesn’t usually take a holiday.
The verse for this evening is from 1 John. It is rather long, but it speaks a great truth about our steadfastness to the faith and to what we know is true in Jesus. We are told by John, in 1 John 3:7-11, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
By the way, the “children” John was referring to in the verse are the people who are new or young in the faith – they are the ones who really need guidance and to understand the pillars of what to believe. They are the easiest to be taken advantage of. So, stay the course of righteousness. We are to lean on one another to hold each other accountable for our actions. In that way, and by following the teachings of Jesus, we have a much greater chance of resisting the temptation of evil. My encouragement this evening is that God expects us to find our strength in Him. We can’t be strong without Him. And please join me in praying for those families that have suffered at the hand of Jared – that they will be showered with God’s love, grace and peace. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…