FAIR PLAY & CHEATING
Definition: Fair play is conformity to godly rules. Cheating is obtaining advantage by unfair or fraudulent means; dishonest behavior; deception; trickery.
1. Fair play is a fundamental characteristic of the righteous that sets them apart from the wicked.
Psalm 15:1-2 Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
Psalm 36:1,3 The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. … 3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right [fair]: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
Psalm 26:9-11 Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: 10 In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes. 11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
Proverbs 20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity [honesty and principle]: his children are blessed after him. [See also Psalm 26:1]
Isaiah 33:15,16 [A wonderful promise to those who treat others fairly:] He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
2. The Lord commands His people not to cheat, deceive or take unfair advantage of others.
Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Luke 3:12-14 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto Him, Master, what shall we do? 13 And He said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of Him, saying, And what shall we do? And He said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaven.
1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
3. Fair play or judgment is a basic requirement for leaders in God’s work.
Deuteronomy 16:18,20 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. … 20 That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
Acts 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
Acts 20:33,34 [Paul had this testimony:] I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
Titus 1:7b For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God.
1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre [for dishonest gain], but of a ready mind.
4. Cheating often leads to a vicious cycle of more cheating, being cheated, and mutual mistrust — as illustrated in the life of Jacob, the deceiver.
Genesis 25:29-33 [First Jacob took advantage of Esau in order to seize his brother’s birthright:] And Jacob sod pottage [cooked stew]: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint. … 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Genesis 27:6-17 [Then Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, also conspired with Jacob to steal the blessing that his father, who by then was blind, intended for Esau:] 11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: 12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. 13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. 14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. 15 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: 16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: 17 And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
Genesis 29:21-27 [After Jacob had served Laban for seven years in order to marry Rachel, Laban’s daughter, Jacob was cheated, just as he had cheated his brother. Laban gave him Leah, the oldest daughter rather than Rachel:] 25 And he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? Did not I serve with thee for Rachel? Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
Genesis 30:31-43 [Years later Jacob turned around and cheated Laban again, using a devious method to breed strong herds of cattle and goats for himself, only leaving the weaker ones for Laban:] 41 And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.43 And [Jacob] increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
Genesis 31:32-35 [Even Jacob’s wife, Rachel, cheated her father Laban by stealing his household idols, unbeknownst to her husband. Jacob says to Laban:] With whomsoever thou [Laban] findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. 34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. 35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me [menstruation]. And he searched, but found not the images.
Genesis 32:24-29 [It was only after Jacob had an encounter with an angel that his name (and character) was changed from Jacob, which meant “deceiver,” to Israel; then he began to live a more honest life:] And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled [an angel] with him until the breaking of the day. … 27 And [the angel] said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
5. In the Bible, the Lord often uses balances [scales] to illustrate the concepts of honesty and fair play.
Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight.
Leviticus 19:35,36 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah [dry measure] and a just hin [liquid measure], shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 25:13,15 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. … 15 But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Proverbs 16:2,11 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. … 11 A just weight and balance are the Lord’s: all the weights of the bag are His work.
Proverbs 20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.
[See also Hosea 12:7; Amos 8:5]
6. Sooner or later, cheating is always uncovered.
Numbers 32:23b Be sure your sin will find you out.
Proverbs 10:9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Proverbs 20:17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
Jeremiah 7:9-11 Will ye steal … and swear falsely … 10 And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? 11 Is this house, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. [See also Jeremiah 9:4-9; Ezekiel 22:29-31]
Luke 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
1 Corinthians 4:5b The Lord … will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
7. The Lord will judge and reward us according to our works, whether we have cheated and dealt falsely or whether we have dealt fairly and righteously.
Psalm 24:3-5 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his Salvation.
Psalm 125:4,5a Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. 5a As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity.
Proverbs 11:18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
Proverbs 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? And He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? And shall not He render to every man according to his works?
Jeremiah 17:10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Jeremiah 32:19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 22:11-12,14-15 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. … 14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.