Earlier this week, I discovered that a website designed by a fellow church member featured graphics and design elements I produced a little over two years ago. Without permission, this individual simply copied and pasted webpages I encoded and profited from the sale of a website he did not actually design. While this is not only a sign of great disrespect, it is also intellectual property theft, a federal offense punishable by imprisonment and up to a $250,000.00 fine.
What troubles me most is that this brother pretends to be Christian. A church goer, this 37 year old man of Canadian origin is currently working in the United-States under a fraudulent visa. The fact he is here illegally and continues to steal from me leads me to believe he is either a person of weak faith or worse yet, someone without faith.
I believe there is nothing worse than a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to Christianity. While we can always prepare ourselves for evil doers, we are often unprepared to deal with liars and hypocrites that walk among us and pose as fellow believers.
As I continue to be a victim of intellectual property theft from both friends and strangers, I felt compelled to concentrate on those close to me and write this week about the parable of the Sower.
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:3-20)
In this parable, it is clear only one soil produces fruit. Jesus emphasizes the necessity to hear the word, accept it and bear fruit. Such a person recognizes God’s call and answers it by following God’s commands. True Christians experience a profound transformation as they are born again. These are more than fruitful servants, they are truly saved are incapable of straying from God’s righteous path without a powerful sense of guilt which is deep rooted within them.
It is no surprise this week’s message at church was about two faced Christians. Teaching about Balaam, our senior pastor warned us of those among us driven by greed and selfishness. These hypocrites are in grave danger as judgment awaits them just as it did Balaam.
“Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be’or, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved.” (2 Peter 2:15-17)
Though I believe an old friend of mine, the man who is stealing from me and lying to US government is following in Balaam’s footsteps, I also believe in the magnificent power of God’s grace. I am hopeful our Lord will speak louder than Balaam’s donkey and guide the greedy thief back on the right path.
Are you a witness of such disobedience? Do you find yourself surrounded with hypocrites and opportunists that talk the talk but don’t walk the walk? If so, I invite you to confront them and most importantly, pray for them. Whatever you do, do not let yourself be conducive to disobedience. Holding others accountable in love is the best way to resolve issues that violate God’s word however, it is not the only way. In some instances, representatives of the law must be involved.
In the case of intellectual property theft I am a victim of, I first chose a loving approach which led nowhere. Now I am allowing God to work through the law. Though it may result in imprisonment, fines and even deportation, I know in my heart I am doing God’s work. I suppose in this story, I am the donkey.
Do not be afraid to be the jack ass that confronts people. If the Lord needs your lips to speak guiding words to someone who is otherwise blinded by evil then let it be so. Being an obedient servant of God doesn’t not mean everyone will like you, it means you will follow in Jesus’ footsteps and obey His commands.
We thank you for your blessings in our lives
And for all that surrounds us each day,
We thank you for the righteous people in our lives and their love
And ask you to look over them as only you can.
Lord we thank you for forgiving our sins
And for your presence in our lives,
We ask you to continue to lead our paths
So that we may follow in your footsteps
And become more like you.
Father we pray you will make us stronger
In times when we are weak and forget
You will always be there watching over us
Providing all we need in this life and the next.
Lord help us recognize the wolves among us
And allow us to expose them as evildoers,
Guide us to help the weak focus on You
As we walk the path that leads to your kingdom .
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre