A friend notified me today about a “Christian” website where “Christians” illegally share a variety of forms of digital Christian content—from Christian music to Christian movies to Christian software. Scores of people, many of whom are in seminary training for pastoral ministry, post pirated Bible software on the web and invite others to download it, giving detailed instructions on how to unlock the software and bypass the security features. I’m blown away by how easily “Christians” can steal in order to enable them to have access to biblical resources.1 Something about that just doesn’t make sense. But that’s what sin does to us. It causes us to act in utterly irrational ways.
Take, for example, how one seminary student responds to another who shared stolen software with him: “God Bless You!” Another individual has this in his signature: “Live Hard, Play hard and let your life show WHO u live for.” Hmm. Another has a link to his website, “What Would Jesus Download,” in his signature. Good question indeed. Perhaps those downloading pirated software should ponder it a bit.
The point of this post isn’t to point the finger at others in a condescending fashion. I recall the wise counsel of Jonathan Edwards, who in his eighth resolution said,
Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
So I use this as an opportunity to search my own heart and ask God to reveal how I might be covering sin. I pray the prayer of David, both for myself and for those who use this “Christian” site.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! —Ps 139:23–24
Sin is a deceitful (Heb 3:13) and blinding (2 Pet 1:7) poison. How easy it is for our sinful hearts to justify what God abhors. May God graciously shine the light of His holy Word upon us and grant us the gift of repentance.
- I’d image that most of these individuals wouldn’t walk into a Christian bookstore and steal content off of the shelves. The fact that downloadable media and software is intangible makes it much easier to justify. ↩