Friday, September 14, 2007

Integrity Restored

When I first got to Peru I was a little shocked at the abundance of pirated materials. In Cusco there are no Blockbusters or movie theaters but there are plenty of pirated dvds. There are dvds for movies that have not ever been released to disc (true they were copied from the movie theater). I'm not even sure where you can buy the original dvds here in Cusco.

The same is true with music and books. On street corners and in shopping areas are every kind of music and recording that you might be looking for. And copying entire books is a normal thing around here. I remember the first time I received a copy of a photocopied book and thought: how can this be legal?

The sad thing is that these things are even accepted as normal for the Christians here in Cusco. If you are doing a study of a book, then you naturally make copies of the book because it's much cheaper. The Christians buy pirated movies and even pirated Christian music without batting an eyelash.

Enter Carrie into the world of pirated materials.... When I first arrived I was saddened but it didn't take too long to make up excuses and say: "well, that's the culture here..." I didn't want to go out and copy books or buy pirated music but the movies were a different thing. I went out and bought some dvds because I figured that the piraters weren't making too much money and decided that it was more like renting a movie anyway. I wasn't quite sure that I liked the idea but wasn't sure where I could buy "real" movies anyway.

In any case it was all excuses for something that in reality is not pleasing to God. Is it pleasing to God that I become a participant in something that is illegal? Is it right for Christians to join in with what the world does just because it is a cheaper option? If you really sit down and think about it, buying pirated materials is stealing. How can a Christian be blessed by music or books that have been stolen from the original owners? How can we justify things like this? Are we operating with seared consciences just because we don't want to stand for what is right?

Today I was convicted by my sin of giving in to something I knew was wrong all along. I was convicted that God has called me to be a woman of integrity and not give in to the things of the world. I realized that I had been too easily swayed and had allowed excuses to blur something that really was sin.

So, I destroyed all the pirated dvds that I bought.

I didn't really want to do it but the conviction of the Holy Spirit convinced me that it was what I needed to do. I may be living in a culture where pirated things are an every day occasion but I choose from this day forward to stand firm and not give in. What will I do when someone wants me to watch a pirated movie with them or participate in a Bible study with a copied book? I'm not quite sure but I know that I will not willingly buy pirated materials or make complete book copies. God wants me to walk with an integrity of heart where there is nothing keeping me from Him - no sin of any kind that will damage our relationship. I want open lines of communication with my Savior and it's not worth it to make up excuses for sin. May the Lord give me sensitivity to make the right choices that please Him alone!

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