Monday, October 1, 2012

Fraud spotting

How do you spot a fraud?
I'm not talking about Coach purses being sold on the side of a New York City street. If you don't know those are a fraud we have a problem. Coach is not creating a special line of purses to be sold on fold-and-go tables on dirty city streets by men in baggy jeans and a three day old shave jobs. No. Coach has different standards. If your "authentic" Coach purse/tote/i-pad cover/luggage came from such a vendor, I am sorry to inform you that it is far from authentic and 100% knock-off. Same goes for these "purse parties" that sell top of the line purses for bargain basement prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
I understand this concept when it comes to buying designer goods, getting work done on the house or buying electronics. You get what you pay for. If something looks the same yet costs a fraction of the cost there is probably something beneath the surface that is also only a fraction of what it should be. At first you probably won't miss it, but just wait a while. Sooner or later you will long for the fraction you didn't know you weren't getting and weren't paying for.
And that brings me to the deeper question, the one that goes beyond purchases and products. How do you know when a person is a fraud? How do you tell the true, genuine, authentic people from the manipulators, liars and downright two-faced?
This question raises some real doubts about who we surround ourselves with. Think about who you have dated in the past. You thought they were one thing but, turns out, they weren't all they were cracked up to be. Some people marry such characters. 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Obviously, somewhere along the line one or both of the parties involved wasn't what they claimed to be. Or maybe they just "changed" or "fell out of love". You know, the normal lines that every divorced couple leans on for a time being after they've signed on the dotted line, ending a union that was meant to last till death did them part. But something happened. Something wasn't what it appeared to be. Maybe someone was a full blown fraud.
Fraudulent people are harmful to more then marriage vows. They break business agreements and friendships. As president they can be downright dangerous. Given too much power, the fraud can pursue an agenda that is evil and corrupt while the innocent are taken for a ride.
How do you spot such a fraud and how do you arm yourself against them?

Google isn't helpful on this subject matter unless you are talking check fraud or a con artist. But I'm not talking specifics such as those - I'm talking general. I'm talking about the everyday variety liars and schemers. I'm talking about the real soul of a person. How do you know when it is truly decent, pure and good? And how do you know when it stinks to high heaven?

Is there a foolproof spot checking technique?  There is only one hope: be authentic yourself. Being a genuinely upright person is the only chance we have at gaining the discerning wisdom to spot those who aren't authentic themselves.
We can never be guaranteed that we aren't face to face with a fraud (unless it is a Louis Vitton on the side of Madison Avenue). We rely on our judgement and our senses. Unfortunately, those are often flawed, too. At the end of the day the best chance we have is to live an upright life in God's eyes. We are called to something bigger than even the moral standards of this world - which are bare bones to say the least. We are called to live in such a way as to win the prize. We are called to live by the grace of God, not by the power of our human flesh. When we order and dictate our lives by this standard the outside world looks a whole lot different. People look different; circumstances look different; and the truth becomes clearer. The fraud wears a big "F" across the chest much like a sacrlet letter. The truth is brought to light. The frauds lose their upperhand and masterful edge.
Will you still fall prey to a lying cheat in the office? Maybe. We are human - remember. That means we won't always use the discernment God is offering us and we won't call on His wisdom. There are times we will fall short in our own character and spirit which will render our fraud spotting skills ineffective. But, if we walk with God in authenticity and obedience, we will find that we are saved the heartache and pain inflicted on us by fraudulent people.

The goodness of God knows no limits. We pray to Him and thank Him for creation, but He is so much more then even those wonders. He is a fraud spotter. He sees people and things for what they truly are. He knew the hearts of the pharisees and called them out for their lack of faith. If He could do it in the Old Testament, He can do it today. And the amazing, glorious truth is that He is doing it right here and now. He is spotting the frauds and granting us the power to spot them, too. But there is only one way to get that: live a life filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in obedience to God by his grace, mercy and power.

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