Heavenly umpire gets call right every time

Give that man an Oscar. I’m talking about Derek Jeter, New York Yankees team captain. Recently Jeter pulled a fast one on an umpire.

Pitcher Chad Qualls threw an inside fastball. The ball bounced back on the field of play as Jeter yelped and grimaced as if in pain. The umpire awarded him first base as a result of being hit by the pitch.

But the pitch never hit Jeter. Replays show it bounced off the knob of the bat. Some fans accused Jeter of cheating. He scoffed at that notion.

Jeter said innocently, “I had nothing to do with the call. He didn’t ask me did it hit you.” The Yankees star knew the truth. He simply didn’t volunteer it. So did he break the rules? Did he cheat? That’s for baseball pundits to decide.

This raises a more important question to me as it relates to personal integrity. If no one sees you do wrong, is it wrong? The case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 might help answer that question.

This couple sold a piece of property.

They promised to give all the proceeds to the church. But secretly they retained some of the money. “Who will know?” they thought. Keeping the money was not the problem. Lying about it for personal gain was.

Peter put it like this, “You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:4). And the couple suffered grave consequences for their deception.

If you sneak a candy bar out of the store without paying, is it wrong if you don’t get caught? If you race down I-65 at 90 miles an hour with no troopers in sight, is it wrong? If you log onto a trashy website late at night when the wife’s asleep, is it wrong?

Integrity has to do with how you think and act when no one else is watching.

Even if no other human knows, God cannot be hornswaggled. Our Heavenly Umpire gets the call right every time.

The Rev. Dr. Darryl Wood is pastor of First Baptist Church Vincent. You can reach him at dwood132@bellsouth.net.