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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, August 08 2019

What would you do? - A moral dilemma

God expects us to be honest with others, regardless of what we think of their behaviour: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12) .”

This a scripture about our behaviour, not the behaviour of others .

Let’s consider a couple of scenarios.

What would you do if given the opportunity to make an easy, but dishonest profit? The link below tells of a situation with a car dealer who makes a mistake in estimating the value of a car he is about to purchase and he offers a very inflated price for it. The owner is aware that the car is worth much less and the dealer has misread the situation.

A survey revealed approximately 80 percent thought the vehicle owner should take advantage of the car dealer’s mistake. The explanation for their opinion usually being that doing something dishonest to a dishonest person was okay, and car dealers are widely regarded as dishonest.

Another situation that could occur is if you receive more change than you should after buying something at a convenience store. Would you make the shop attendant aware of the error?

The Bible contains clear instructions to guide our behaviour: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). The principle is clear: Do not lie! Taking the money and walking out gives the store owner the false impression that everything is correct.

Elsewhere God gives a list of seven things He hates and describes as abominations . Two of the seven things are related to dishonesty—”a lying tongue” and “a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

But would it make a difference if you knew the person behind the counter is a cheat and you have personal experience of their dishonesty in the past? Once again we are left in no doubt how God expects us to act. Romans 12:19 tells us, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” In other words, it is not your place to give someone what’s coming to them. It’s God’s, and only God’s.

We are even told Christians are to go one step further and actively do something good to someone who may have hurt or cheated us. : “Finally, all of you be of one mind … not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” 1 Peter 3:8-9 .

God expects us to be honest with others, regardless of their conduct and even it means “missing out.”