No Cheating

1 Corinthians 6:5-8

I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.


            A story was told about a young child trying to fill her glass with milk, and spilled all over the floor. Her older siblings saw what happened and said: “Aha! You spilled the milk!” The young child responded, “Aha! The milk is spilled!”

            Her older siblings may have wanted to embarrass her so that she may feel bad when they pointed out what happen. But instead of guilt, she was fascinated. Spilled milk was spectacular to her. Why? An innocent child does not sense guilt feelings. No guilt feeling at all should have been a wonderful kind of life! Right?

            Together, let’s reflect on what it narrated in Genesis 2:22-25, 22 The Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

            What did Adam say when he saw the woman? Adam may have exclaimed, “My rib; my rib.” The woman said, “It’s not Marib; I prefer to be called Maribel!” Overtime Adam decided to call his wife Eve and not what she wanted. She felt ignored that Adam called her Eve instead of calling her by her preferred name?

Well, Eve ignored Adam also when she was enticed by the ancient serpent. She thought that Adam will insist anyways what is right and proper in his eyes.

            Before they disobeyed the Lord, both Adam and Eve were naked, and they felt no shame. They’re innocent; they didn’t know the difference between good and bad; it’s the most relaxing stage of their life. But sooner after they disobeyed the Lord, they were confused; Adam and Eve realized that they were naked.

By the time we recognize the difference between what’s right and wrong, it is when embarrassment can affect our behavior. Have you been embarrassed that you try to forget it; you do not even want to think about it or talk about it?

Why does it feel very bad when we are embarrassed? According to experts, when we anticipate negative comment from observers, embarrassment creeps in. In short, we sense embarrassment when we perceive that our social image might be affected negatively; we cannot easily accept undesirable impression against us.

            What do you think? When we accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour, did he save us from embarrassment? Do you believe Christ saved us also from guilty feelings?

Pertaining to the sacrificial death of Christ, it prophesied in Isaiah 53:3-4:

            He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.

            Crucifixion was supposed to be the most embarrassing kind of death. Christ was paraded like guilty criminal. People mocked him, spit on him and laughed at him. He endured all kinds of humiliating punishments just to save us. What did such mystery do to believers? When we obey Christ, humiliation may still happen. But instead of disgrace, we sense his joyful peace that we joined in his suffering.

            Remember this (1 Peter 4:13) 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Friends: Others may try to embarrass us. But when faith in Christ is active, humiliation can no longer affect our behavior; we don’t feel bad or embarrassed; unless of course, you intentionally act upon foolish things carelessly or recklessly.

All sins and anything that may cause us to commit sin, including guilt and shame were crucified with Christ. How strong do you internalize such mystery?

            By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit himself will produce joyful peace in us. Then, we do the best we can; we behave according to Christian practices and beliefs, and we look forward to what the Lord prepared for us in such situation.

So, it is wise for us to be filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit always. Right?

1.  Wise

I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!

            When church people take one another to court in front of unbelievers, it is not a wise decision; it is an embarrassing situation. Can you believe that the Lord has already given wisdom so that his church would internally decide any dispute that may possibly arise among his children? How strong do you believe it?

            If you were innocent, you may not feel ashamed of yourselves; but why is it that there are confused individuals who recklessly do something but they sense no shame at all? How does sin affect a person who committed sin? Sin can cause the heart to be callous so that they cannot distinguish between honesty and dishonesty. When the heart is numb, it cannot sense guilt feelings anymore.

            Let’s seriously meditate on what Christ declares in Matthew 13:15-16: 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.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

            How do we know if our heart has become calloused? When we know that we have committed sin, and we don’t sense anymore the urgency to repent, the heart has become calloused. But when we sense guilty feelings that we did not prioritize the Lord, the heart is still spiritually sensitive to the will of the Lord.

            Sin makes a person’s heart and mind calloused. It’s like people playing with fire. They cannot feel the heat because their skin has become numb and callous.

            If you love to cook or bake, you may have already burned yourself, not intentionally of course. Someone said, “If while cooking you burned yourselves, your scars become branding marks that you are a cook or you are a baker.”

Do you have scars in your hands? Have you burned yourself while cooking?

            Have you ever observed experienced cooks who can simply hold hot food?

Sugar cane

            Have you ever smelled a newly cooked molasses? When sugarcane juice is cooked into molasses, it has aromatic scent. In the Philippine countryside, farmers cook molasses during school hours. Northwest wind blows the strong aromatic scent of hot molasses into the open windows of classrooms. Students would cut classes just to go and watch while the sugarcane juice is cooked into molasses.

Those who are brave enough to touch hot molasses make candies out of molasses. For first timers, they can awfully burn their hands, but after many tries, the palms and fingers skin will grow callous and cannot feel the heat anymore.

            Likewise, when you work with your hands or lift heavy things, and you don’t use appropriate gloves, you grow callous on palms and fingers. If you exercise, lift weights or make pull ups, you will also grow callous in your palms and fingers. Well, it feels very manly to have callous palms and fingers but for ladies who have very sensitive and smooth skin, to have callous hands is not very charming.

Similarly when wickedness makes the heart calloused, we cannot feel it; we cannot sense the difference between right and wrong. But when we are still very sensitive to the will of God, we may sense terrible feelings when we disobey him.

It testifies in Psalm 119:66-70: 66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. 68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. 69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. 70Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.

A regenerated sensitive heart desires to learn the good decrees of the Lord.

By his grace, the Lord regenerated our heart so that we realized our need of Christ as our Lord and Savior. But before we believed and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our heart was calloused; we did whatever we think is best for us. Acceptable to the Lord or not, we didn’t mind if it’s right or wrong before God.

2.  Wrong

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 

            To choose to be wronged and cheated rather than to cheat and do wrong to other believers, that’s biblical solution for dispute among church people. That is very tough but it is a godly and victorious solution. Apostle Paul didn’t suggest other options whenever there’s dispute in the church among God’s children.

            Can you accept that such solution is glorious testimony among believers?

            Remember that godly commands can only be obeyed by the grace of God and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Christ himself chose to endure false accusations against him. He exemplified that if we rely upon him, his Holy Spirit empowers us so that we can also endure those who cheat and do wrong to us.

Together, let us meditate on what it admonished us in Hebrews 12:1-3: 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

            You may have aspired to be famous. Many people desire to be popular.

Financially wise, popularity can probably bring better opportunities, and more influencers actively attract more subscribers to their social media accounts.

Unknowingly, the life of celebrity attracts undesirable scrutiny from media and other envious individuals. And that’s exactly what happened to Jesus Christ.

            Jesus Christ had been performing miracles, and more and more people were following him. He ministered to the sick, even during Sabbath day. When Lazarus died, he was buried for four days. Jesus resuscitated back to life the dead Lazarus. Many of the Jewish leaders had seen the miracle that Jesus did.

            It narrated in John 11:46-52, 46Some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” 49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man dies for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

            Not just once but multiple times, they tried to harm Jesus but no one was brave enough to hurt him before his crucifixion. In his hometown, people tried to throw him off the cliff on a hill; but he just walked through the crowd and went on his way. In Judea, they sent temple guards to arrest him; but the guards were mesmerized and did not find any credible or convincing reason to arrest him.

            When the right time came, they crucified him to death; he was buried and resurrected into heaven; he prepared a place in heaven for all who believe in him and his mysterious sacrifice. And that’s the main reason we celebrate his advent, the time he was born into this world. We now look forward to his Second Advent.

            We regularly celebrate the Lord Supper to remember the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. We are also reminded of our responsibility to proclaim his death and resurrection until he comes again to take us into heaven.

            We celebrate this first Sunday of Advent Season; we lit the BLUE Candle to represent our HOPE of the Return of Christ, his Second Advent.

            We hope that he takes us into heaven when he returns. Amen!

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