God's word in today's world

Between a bribe and a lead


Ephesians 5:6-18

It’s not always easy to distinguish between right and sort-of just left of right.

Teenagers often do not understand what is wrong about downloading a song from YouTube. It’s not stealing. Everybody does it. What’s wrong with doing it?

Sometimes I like being a couch potato, just sitting there mindlessly watching an action movie on TV. One day one of my daughters came running in, excitedly describing the latest, brand new movie she had downloaded on a stick. The movies hadn’t even been released in South Africa yet.

She was very disappointed when I told it was no allowed. She didn’t really understand why.

I sat her down. First I asked whether she knew that we were financially dependent on the sales of the books that I wrote. She knew how our finances worked and answered: “Yes, it doesn’t pay for everything, but it helps.” Then I asked her how much money we would have got if someone got one of our e-books for free from a friend and then passed it on to a bunch of other people?

Slowly she started seeing the picture from the other side.

We have a responsibility to make certain that we are not being duped. There are people who want to pull the wool over our eyes. There are people who want to deceive us. We must be aware of that. We can’t go through life wearing blinkers and say we never knew: 6 Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. 7Don’t even hang around people like that.

We must live in close proximity to God so that his Spirit can shake us awake when people want to deceive and defraud us. Yes, all of us can tell a story or two about someone trying to deceive us. I suspect that that is what happens when we aren’t sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance at that moment.

It’s not always easy. Someone in the vehicle trade sent me this e-mail:

Trucks are manufactured without boxes on the back. When the truck is sold, the client can choose the kind of container. I manufacture those containers for trucks and receive the order from the salesman. I can be paid up to R50 000 for the product that I manufacture, but the other day the salesman came to me and asked for commission. This wasn’t part of the original sales agreement.

Now I’m wondering: Is it to say thank you? Is it as a bribe? Is it the same as when someone gives you a lead and you say thank you?

Other manufacturers reward them and they are financially doing extremely well.

A friend says we often hide a bribe under the finder’s fee blanket.

You see, it’s not always so easy to distinguish between right and the grey area. We must make sure that we live within God’s will, because God’s blessings dry up in the grey areas of life. Indeed!

It is our responsibility to make sure that the wool is not pulled over our eyes. But even more, we must make sure that we do not try and deceive others!

 

Reflection

How straight is your road?

Do you respond to the Holy Spirit’s guidance?

Is there a grey area in your life?

Prayer

Lord, please help me to walk the straight road wherever I go. Please help me to distinguish when I stray outside your will. Protect me against those who want to deceive me. Please help me to recognize them. Amen

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