Monthly Archives

April 1993

1993, Articles, Raiati

Stealing / 25.04.93

Stealing begins with desiring what belongs to others. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications” (Mathew 15: 18). The cure of stealing resides in abstaining from what we do not own and in being independent of what we own; for if we become slaves of what we have, we may as well desire what is for others. Insatiable eyes persuade hands into robbing and looting. And if we ever wished for something and stormed the place where it is in order to have it, we would be willing to kill the one who is defending his belongings.

We do not know how one had made his fortune. If the said fortune was made illegally, it is not up to us to condemn him. And if we wished to strike a balance between us and those who are illegally wealthy, we would be making the same mistake. We are not responsible for doing justice between them and us. Social justice is the concern of the community as a whole and the concern of the government in particular.

Lawful money is money you earn from work or inheritance. “There are six days on which men ought to work” (Luke 13: 14). Refraining from work is a sin unless it is the result of unemployment. There are some situations where you find yourself tempted by your financial responsibilities, just like Judas who “was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12: 6).  Say you are an employee at a company that has sent you in a mission and you presented false bills, or you are a contractor and you were given the price of the materials agreed upon but did not use them, or you just neglected the necessary maintenance. Stealing is not only about entering a house and robbing it: it is taking what is not yours and harming others by an omission that causes them a loss.

Depriving people unjustly of their rights is very common: the employee who is not paid his minimum wage or who is kept with a minimum wage while you are capable of paying him more; the poor maid whom you use and exploit because she is Lebanese while you pay the foreign maid twice as much; all these acts are stealing. The Bible has warned about such actions: “Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth” (James 5: 4).

It is by educating ourselves to work and to love giving that we fight intentions of stealing and exploiting the poor. In this context, Paul has said: “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4: 28).

To educate oneself to desire only the necessity, to consider that life with Christ is the true fortune, to live in austerity in order to give, and to pray for preserving a pure soul, is what paves the way for righteousness. Chastity lies in resisting the temptation induced by money, in never fearing anyone and in despising lying above all. Jesus has rejected all the glories of the world and said: “No one can serve two masters: God and money”.  Refraining from seeking illegal money is a prerequisite for loving God.

After having provided for his young children, a man may live with his wife and enjoy few pleasures. It is the only way to protect himself and to live austerely devoting his life to God.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “السرقة” – 25.04.93

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1993, Articles, Raiati

Lying / 11.04.93

Lies are the most common sins in our country. Their definition is as simple as telling statements that contradict the truth when you should bear witness to it and inform others about what they have the right to know, unless someone’s life is put in danger; and this exception has been allowed by Eastern fathers. It is also allowed to conceal the truth if someone’s reputation is at risk, for you should not agree on gossiping if a vice or a misdeed you know about has been attributed to someone. No one has the right to reveal others’ trespasses, unless you were summoned by the court to clarify an incident.

We often say that there is a white lie that does no harm to anybody. However, changing facts harms the liar himself for it fosters cowardice, instills fear into him and undermines his personality. The truth exists in you just like God, for He is the truth. God manifested Himself by Jesus Christ and did not keep silent. The face of God in you is the truth you unfold. It has to be revealed as if you are reflecting God through it. You should not separate between the apparent and the hidden, for one of our old books mentioned that the last day shall be the one on which the apparent would be like the hidden. Christians fear nobody, and they are not afraid of death. Therefore, they refuse the concept of Batiniyya which allows for the person to disbelieve in God if he was in danger. The Bible asks you to bear witness before nations, even if death was the price to pay. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10: 9).

Confessing is the rule. This is why the Bible calls the Christ “the Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation 3: 14). The ethics of Jesus are reflected in the believers: “A faithful witness does not lie” (Proverbs 14: 5). The New Testament makes honesty the base for relationships between people, for it states: “Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3: 9), and sometimes associates lying with the desire of boasting: “Do not boast and lie against the truth” (James 3: 14). The Bible not only insists on the importance of being always honest, but also emphasizes the necessity of rejecting lies, and urges us to refrain from listening to untruthful utterance.

However, the Divine Word shed light on another aspect of lies which we often disregard. Lies are not only about false utterance, but they also include attitudes that contradict the truth. Thus, it is stated that there are people who tell a lie and others who practice a lie (Revelation 22: 15). If you supported a liar and became one of his followers; if you remain silent when you should disclose; if you did not oppose an erroneous project; if you exaggerate when praising someone; if you praise in order to acquire something or please somebody; if you act as if you are favoring somebody in order to deceive him; all these are kinds of lies in practice. This is why Hosea said: “Ephraim daily increases lies” (12: 1).

The source of all this is the devil about whom Jesus said: “He is a liar and the father of it” (John 8: 44).

Whoever is haunted by this weakness shall attack its roots, and try not to be afraid. Confidence in God is the means by which you acquire strength so you shall not dread human punishment. And if you lied, ask for forgiveness and try to get accustomed to honesty time after time, until you find out that you can really be honest because you became strong in Christ.

In the absence of honesty and due to the prevalence of the concept of Batiniyya, people are refraining from dealing with each other, for lies raise doubts and make honest people reluctant to deal with others. The rule is to “say simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’”, to keep your promises and to feel that honesty delivers you from cowardice, makes you eminent in the community, and encourages people to stick to the truth in both their utterance and their behavior.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الكذب” – 11.04.93

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