These MICE can kill you

For we are not unaware of his schemes.
— 2 Corinthians 2:11 NIV

Yes! There is some redeeming quality in the thriller genre, even when the protagonist is a lethal assassin. Court Gentry, AKA The Gray Man, is a fictional character created by Mark Greaney, also the bestselling coauthor of many of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels.

Gentry does necessary dirty work for the US government and others. In Agent In Place, he is battling wits to rescue a child for a woman he disdains. At one point his task pits him against French Police Judiciare Captain, Henri Sauvage. Sauvage may have been a "good guy" at one point in his career, but now has fallen in line with the enemy.  

The French Police Judiciare had a counterespionage unit, but Sauvage was not on it. Greaney writes:

He worked instead in the homicide division. But even though he wasn’t a spy or a spy hunter, he understood the concept of MICE. MICE was the acronym for the four principle forms of compromise used by intelligence officers -– money, ideology, compromise, and ego. And even though Sauvage wasn’t trained professionally on the techniques, he recognized that the man he only knew as Eric had roped him into this mess by using three of the four on him to great effect.

Henry had no ideology whatsoever –- he was in it for the dough –- but the other three motivations had brought him to where he found himself today.

And where he found himself was a very bad place. Sauvage had been lured by MICE. Now he was a dead man walking.

MICE is not just the stuff of the latest New York Times Best Seller. MICE is the international espionage acronym for the four means of recruiting agents and informants:

  • Money
  • Ideology
  • Compromise
  • Ego

According to one ex-KGB agent, money is the lure within the United States. Wave enough money in the eyes of some agents and they will quickly forget what flag is waving back home.

Penetrate the depths of a U.S. spy scandal and you will most likely find money at the root. But it is not just secret agents that are lured by loot. Most of us have a warm spot in our hearts for cold hard cash. I think that is why Paul made sure that Timothy, one of God’s best agents, understood that money is the cheese that baits a dangerous trap.

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 ESV

Grabbing for money can leave us with a fist full of pain. Just look at Judas, that infamous disciple who sold out Jesus for a few silver coins. Is it any wonder that Paul, writing the church at Corinth about the tactics of the devil, says,

In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
— 2 Corinthians 2:11

Henri Sauvage fell victim to the schemes of the evil Eric, but there is an adversary far more sinister on the prowl today. Satan will use Money, Ideology, Compromise, and Ego to bring you down. They are his his tactics in the first place.

Some days God brings comfort, on other days encouragement, but at that particular moment his word to the church of Corinth was one of warning. He didn't say this, but he could have:

"Beware, MICE can kill you."

Walk in wisdom today. And remember, you are not alone. Christ will strength you, so lean on him. His people will help you, so lean on them.


  • "He worked instead in the homicide division . . ." from Mark Greaney, Agent In Place, USA: Berkley. 2018. Page 158-159.