He is a just and fair God. So He dislikes things that are unjust. And there is much injustice in the world. One of the most obvious areas of injustice is seen in sports. Now, cheating in a game does not rank up there with the greatest injustices in history, but it can give us a clear view of how injustice works, and hopefully cause us to avoid it in our own dealings with people.
Sports have rules. If you break the rules, you are penalized… in many cases. Mostly the most obvious infractions are called out. But not every case of a rule being broken will bring the whistle of the official. There are basically three reasons a penalty is not called:
· Referees aren’t perfect. They miss fouls/penalties. They can’t see everything that happens all the time, or in seeing it at full speed, they miss some stuff.
· Players aren’t perfect. It has been said that in a game of football a referee could call a ‘holding penalty’ on every play. That would be no fun to play or watch. Each game has a flow, and part of the flow is to let the players play, realizing that ‘touch fouls’ will usually not determine the course of the game, but calling every touch foul could.
· The game isn’t perfect. Rules are added and changed at various times to improve the game. Sometimes there is a judgment call on the part of the official in how to enforce the rules.
Fouls happen in the course of action. But then there are rules that are broken outside of the game that affect the game. The New England Patriots are well known cheaters. The most recent infraction is a case where they, with the knowledge of their star quarterback, deflated footballs prior to a game. This deflation was just enough to make it easier for him to handle the ball. This gave him/them an advantage over the other team. The Patriots eventually won the Super Bowl after this cheating episode. Many people are upset.
It is interesting, because the outcry over the incident encourages me that people still have a sense of justice. This doesn’t just come from our humanity, but is a reflection of who God is. In the book of Proverbs we find these wise sayings, “Dishonest scales are detestable to the Lord, but an accurate weight is His delight. When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the perversity of the treacherous destroys them. Wealth is not profitable on a day of wrath, but righteousness rescues from death. The righteousness of the blameless clears his path, but the wicked person will fall because of his wickedness.” (Proverbs 11:1-5) In another chapter we find, “Differing weights and varying measures - both are detestable to the Lord.” (Proverbs 20:10) And again, “Differing weights are detestable to the Lord, and dishonest scales are unfair.” (Proverbs 20:23) So in one chapter we have two verses that basically say the same thing. Back in the old days, people would use rocks to weigh things. They would use heavier rocks if they wanted to charge more money for the same amount of flour or grain. In our grandparent’s generation, the butcher might hold his thumb down on the scales when weighing the meat to get more money. God is not happy when we tip the scales in our favor at the expense of another person.
This doesn’t just happen in the NFL. It happens in business. We can throw stones at Tom Brady and the Patriots all we want, but how are we doing in our dealings with people today? Will you cheat someone in a business deal? Will you work an angle so you can pass someone at work on the ladder to success? God is angry at people who cheat in order to win because it goes against His nature, and He hates injustice. If you must cheat, cheat so that someone else will win.
Today, be honest. Be fair. Be equitable. Be towards others the way you want them to be towards you. That way everyone wins… and no one feels cheated.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.