No, you don’t have to

You don’t have to cheat. Then, why is so much cheating going on? The Rio Olympics is not the first games to be tainted by cheaters. If the IOC wasn’t so corrupt, an entire nation’s Olympic team would have been banned. State-sponsored cheating!

Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens … just a few names from the world of baseball who have been called out for cheating. Football, basketball, cycling, racing, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey … the list grows. Wait a minute! Someone cheats at pin-the-tail-on-the- donkey? A little girl was asked how she had gotten so good at the game. She never lost. Her answer was simple: “I peek.”

We know cheating touches every area of our lives. Spouses cheat on each other. People cheat on their taxes. Businesses sacrifice ethics. Students grab grades they didn’t earn. Builders cut corners in construction. If people think they can away with it, they tend to cheat.

Do we get away with it? It might seem so, but there is always an accounting. Remember this old story? A young preacher found himself in a dilemma. Two brothers were occasional attenders at his church. These men were powerful and rich. In the small town where they lived, they ruled. They were known for shady business practices, monopolizing the market by lies, intimidation, and thievery. One of the brothers died. The other one came to see the preacher. The conversation went like this: “Preacher, I want to biggest and best funeral this town has ever seen. I want you to tell the people what a fine, upstanding man my brother was. You tell ‘em my brother was a saint. If you do it right, I’ll pay off the debt on this new building you’ve built.”

It didn’t take that pastor long to decide how he would handle the service. The church was packed. People wanted to hear what could possibly be said about a man with such an unsavory reputation. The pastor got up to give the eulogy: “Brother Smith was a hard man. He lied and cheated and wrecked the lives of hard-working folks in our town. But next to his brother, he was a saint.”

We don’t have to cheat. We could recall Paul’s words to the Colossians: “And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). Let’s do the right thing for the right reason.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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