Eric's Sunday Sermon; Cheating
A Road More Travelled
Oh The Ways We Can Cheat
Little lies and big lies. Cheating is a verb or adjective or noun. “A Cheat” Obfuscation, concealment, trick, Sub Rosa, false witness, embezzlement, fraud, larceny, robbery and burglary. Those are not bad words but what they describe is scary.
Sub Rosa or sub rosa are both acceptable. It means “under the rose”. Please just for fun look it up on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub_rosa It is like the codes of the all those ancient societies.
Embezzlement is stealing when you have the right to possess but it is not yours. Larceny is the act of taking away something you never had possession of.
Robbery is like mugging someone, while burglary is trespass with intent to commit a crime kind of. Think of TV and breaking and entering. (B&E)
Obfuscation and concealment seem nearly the same but the nuance in obfuscate is its Latin roots. Dark Brown? Maybe it is like “a thinly veiled deception”.
Fraud is interesting. It is a deception geared toward getting something you have no right. It is interesting that law enforcement and courts handle fraud differently based on how it was done. And who it was done to. Defraud someone over 70 and you are in a world of hurt. Do it over the internet you are in the realm of interstate federal FBI type stuff and you do not want to go there. Phone solicitation fraud. And conspiracy to commit fraud is real easy to prove.
How about the false witness stuff that I think we liken to perjury. But it is biblical. Back in those days if two men swore another did a bad act that was proof enough to stone them to death. Eye witnesses are horribly unreliable. And the worst of all is like a 4-5 year old.
I like the concept of trick. Ha ha I tricked you!
I wonder what compelled me to label this sermon cheating when we have all those other great words. Probably because covers most all of the above in some way. It is a very cultural in sub societal groups. The French word for it is Tricheur which sounds cool. Here is a strange one. We are not born with the notion of cheating. That is introduced to us through family and society. My seven year old just now asked about it. I think someone in second grade got caught doing it. In our circle of people I really cannot think of anyone that cheats. Oh well nobody should live in a bubble.
You See It Is The Heart of The Cheater That Is Most Broken
At Least Not A Snake In The Grass
Which Wolf Do You Feed?
One of my most interesting thoughts or areas of investigation is cheating God. I think most Christians would jump right on and say that the following was cheating God. Not going to church, Not consistently Praying, Not reading your Bible. And I suppose we could call sin as something that is cheating God. That is why I put big lies and little lies first.
But that to me is not cheating God. There is one way to cheat God. It is pretty straight forward and goes like this; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
And if you believe as I do that God is made manifest through love and God is love then you cheat God if you do not love. My most mature thought on this is “cheater, cheater pumpkin eater had a cow but could not eat her” Yes I am fully aware that it makes no sense. Maybe I should stop while I am behind.
Now it is my belief based on a whole lot of study of comparative religions and sects that all religions hold this truth to be self-evident for at least a portion of their faith.
Here is a basic Islamic tenant "None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself." I like that one.
A cornerstone for Buddhism is summarized by this; “Love our whole world as a mother loves her only son” (you can change “our” to “the” which I think is missing the concept of us all being connected through love.
I cannot vouch for this as authentic but I heard first from one of my friend’s dad. I seem to remember him as a Navajo and I think this is more Cherokee speaking or our two sides/wolves; “One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, which wolf will win?
The old Cherokee simply replied, The one you feed.”
Loving Life Rather Than Cheating It.
I Cannot Answer This Question For Me
Carpe Diem! Seize The Day!
It is said that the Eskimo peoples have 100 words for snow meaning there are 100 different snows. It is said that there are 100 types of love. Yet in English we use one and change the meaning with another word used to describe the love more clearly. “He is a horse lover” “that is only puppy love” “he only knew love as lust”. I find that interesting first because of the contextual linguistics/semantics and secondly it gives us direction to a view of love that is universal.
I would think that the word cheating is most used to describe three types; 1. Taxes 2. School Tests and 3. Marriage infidelity.
We all get “white lie” and a “whopping big lie” and that they only are different by degrees. Which reminds us that we have “fudging” and “cheating” which are only different by degrees.
I am not sure but I think that if I watched the media and movies I would kind of get the notion that all three of the above are normal. If caught it is regretful but if not just a small guilty feeling. Except for one little thing; it is contrary to love and our connection with others and our God. Before I can sleep with my wife I must be able to sleep with me.
Cheating. It would seem that whenever we cheat we really cheat ourselves. No matter the outcome of cheating and its effect on others it is not a “victimless” crime. We are the victims when we cheat on how much love to give.
Here is a kind of crazy prayer that I am sure was the first of anything that I memorized.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take
Now that prayer is not appropriate and scary for a four year old – at least that is what we immediately think and cheat ourselves about. When we jump to the outrageous obvious we cheat our brains from the chance to learn. In truth, I love that prayer. It reminded me every night that “big deal if we leave this life, we still get to live with Jesus”.
Every situation gives us the opportunity to show our love of our fellows and God. Please please do not cheat yourself out of them. Think of the love in Houston. And realize you do not need a catastrophe to take an opportunity.