Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How Could This Happen?

News just released indicates that the local Catholic church had $300,000 embezzled from them by a former bookkeeper. I wrote the following letter to the local newspaper for an editorial.

Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

The rampant embezzling that is going on in our area today is the result of the sin of covetousness. People desire to have things they cannot afford and justify in their own minds how they can shave a little off the top, pay it back when their ship comes in, and nobody gets hurt. The Bible calls these evil desires, deceitful lusts. Eph 4:22 put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

We hear the tragic stories, people just devastated and confused as to how they could have allowed themselves to get so swept up in gambling or buying “stuff” with other people’s money. “She was a great person….how could…?” goes the reasoning from friends, family and neighbors. Let the Bible tell you how.

Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 8:21 Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.

All men are depraved and fall short of the glory of God. That is why Ephesians calls for men to repent and ‘put off’ former conduct. Here is the part few believe- We are all guilty in God’s eyes of the same root sin that causes people to embezzle. Have you ever coveted your neighbor’s car, house, golf clubs, fishing pole, snowmobile, etc. ?

Jesus explains in the sermon on the mount how God looks on the heart and considers anger as bad as murder, lust as bad as adultery. Jesus gives the divine power to have victory over this sin in our life,- For our righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees.

This is what the new birth accomplishes. It takes away our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh. The Holy Spirit then causes us to walk in His statutes and keep His judgments. Like it or not, what keeps us from being on the front page of the paper, is the grace of God.

1Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. We should be sobered by such sins in our communities, but let all of us who thinks we stand take heed lest we fall.

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