One of most prevalent conditions of worldly culture today is the fact that people will easily trade their good conscience for a small, short-term gain. Because it’s so common, Christians seem to do the same thing without discretion. One example is copying CDs. CDs can be copied more quickly and easily than tapes. So people frequently burn CDs. But as you know, this is against the law, and can inflict a great loss to others. To produce a worship CD, many people are involved; they practice long hours, buy recording time at a studio, and invest a significant amount of time and money. When we copy CDs, we do them great harm. A while back, I wondered why Korean Christian music CDs were of lower quality than Korean secular music. I found out that this was because Christians are particularly prone to copying CDs, so Christian CDs don’t make enough money to justify larger production costs. A CD does not cost that much. You can find 4 CDs on sale for only $20. If you find songs you like, please buy the CDs instead of making copies of them.
I heard a story not too long ago about a student who lived in Houston for a month. During his stay, he purchased and used things he needed. When it was time to leave, he returned everything he bought to the stores, abusing their return policies since they were purchased less than a month prior. The student said that his church friends suggested this idea. When I first heard this, I was completely shocked, and then felt miserable for a long time. I could not believe that Christians have stooped to such a level. Who incurs the loss here? In the case of a returned product, retailers usually pass the liability back to the manufacturer. This results in rising product costs, and ultimately affects poor workers in assembly lines abroad. Let us not trouble the Holy Spirit within us by pursuing such trivial gains.
On the flip side, I also hear encouraging news — how after becoming Christians, people willingly let go cars that slightly rear-end them. Or how, as opposed to how they would have acted in the past, people dutifully pay significant penalty charges instead of evading them. Countless stories of admirable Christians fighting against worldly culture make us happy and proud. Jesus says in Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” We should strive to become disciples of Christ by giving up short-term gains and maintaining a clear conscience for His glory.
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