The Truth about Guilt Meditations: 25. Guilt by Sight (2)
Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
1 Sam 16:6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’
Continuing: In the previous study we considered how ‘looking’ can stir wrong emotions which in turn can lead to wrongdoing, desires that lead to passion that leads to sin. Now we are going to meditate on various other aspects of ‘looking’ and how looking can lead us astray.
Seeing Personal Possibilities: We are familiar with what happened at the Fall: “When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything! —she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.” (Gen 3:6 Msg) ‘Saw’ here means perception. She had already ‘looked’ at the tree and now Satan’s words added significance to what she saw. His words colored what she thought about the tree. We can look at something in all innocence and then enemy can whisper into our minds wrong thoughts that play on our latent desires. James understood the sequence when he wrote, “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (Jas 1:14,14) I used the word ‘latent’ about desires because often they are dormant or un-awakened and we don’t realize they are there until we see something and Satan whispers illicit possibilities into our minds. If we listen, if we are enticed, the desire rises up, we struggle against it and then may give way and fall. Satan may come in the guise of a friend: “Hey, why don’t you try this stuff, it will make you a new person,” or “Hey, you want to try this website. What the women are doing is bizarre.” Whispers that stir wonderings. You see – and are hooked. Don’t let it happen and if it has already, confess it, repent, and ask Him to deliver you from it.
More Possibilities: There is a strange case of seeing possibilities that we find in respect of Elisha’s servant, Gehazi. (read 2 Kings 5). Elisha has just brought about the healing of leprosy of the great army commander of Aram, Naaman, and now Naaman is really grateful and he offers Elisha a gift. He is well off and has much to give, but Elisha knows he was merely an instrument of God and the glory is God’s and therefore declines the offer. But Gehazi his servant is standing there in the background and he has other thoughts. We aren’t told what those thoughts were but it is pretty evident. He sees Naaman with his retinue and all the goods with which he had come to bribe the seer to get him to heal him, and he sees Naaman, because of Elisha, is going to take them all back home. What a waste! He follows Naaman and spins a tale – a lie. He takes two talents of silver and two sets of clothing from him and sneaks home with them. But Elisha knows and calls him to account.
What was happening here? Gehazi saw a situation from which he could profit. Naaman could afford it. Elisha didn’t need it, so what’s the harm? It involves lies and deceit; it is greed and covetousness. In business money changes hands, either as a grateful thanks or to pave the way. In some parts of the world it is normal and in some areas of business it is considered part of the deal, but the word for it is a bribe. In the Law of Moses there were laws about justice and integrity, one of which said, “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.” (Ex 23:8) The context rather suggests a court situation but to bribe someone means ‘to dishonestly persuade (someone) to act in one’s favor by a gift of money or other inducement.”
Why is it dishonest? Because it implies you are getting someone to do something which they would not otherwise do, and once you introduce that into business dealings integrity goes out the window, truth is compromised and you know if it was out in the open others would criticize such behaviour. It demeans both the giver and the taker. It comes about because someone ‘sees’ an opportunity to make personal gain, just like Eve did, just like Gehazi did.
The Ongoing Fruits: We commented in an earlier study on two groups of people who have, in recent decades, displayed the worst excesses of this sort of thing, bankers and CEO’s who have paid themselves excessive amounts of money in their greed, but there is a secondary spin-off – loss of trust in the watchers. We no longer trust these people and that ferments under the surface of society and is one of the current forces undermining democracy in the West. It is a loss of integrity caused by greed and avarice because men (and it is mostly men) have ‘seen’ ways whereby they may profit excessively to the loss of others. I mentioned earlier, in the UK in this year, the scandal of sweatshop clothing manufacture has come to light and behind it we see those leading it taking massive amounts of money while the workers have less than a living wage. These are areas that the prophets revealed are subject to God’s righteous anger. He will act. Beware. We may not be such people but in our everyday dealings with others can be ensure we are not those ‘looking for the main advantage’ that comes as loss to others.