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Inspiration for this motivational: “The Ticket Master”

Have you ever been guilty of “bribery”?

Oh, I’m sure most of us have never gone up to a politician or businessman with a big check or expensive gift or some other major favor like a vacation or free products hoping to skew them one way or another, but I think we’re all “guilty” of it in one form or another. I know I am. After all, when we were young and wanted our parents to get us a favorite toy or treat, wouldn’t we be on our best behavior? Wouldn’t we start saying how much we “loved mommy and daddy” or picked up our toys or smiled and ate all our vegetables? And, when that failed, would we sometimes go to the more “negative” end and throw fits or tantrums until we got what we wanted?

How about in a case like with the Mane Six, in which we had a friend who had a bit of good fortune? Say they bought a new big screen TV or new car or were headed out on a trip for a weekend and had room to spare? Have you ever engaged in “hint dropping” or been more happy or cheerful around them hoping they’ll let you in on a share of it? Maybe none of us have gone to the extremes that Twilight Sparkle’s friends did, but I’m sure we all went out of our way to be a little nicer, a bit friendlier, a little more helpful, or whatever we could do to make sure that we were the “bestest friend”.

Of course, the flip side to this is receiving a bribe. I know when I was a kid I’d much prefer to mow my mom’s lawn over my grandmother’s because she’d pay me more for it. Or I’d much faster volunteer to do something for my dad than my mom because he’d usually pass out any spare change he had to me afterward, or I’d ride with him out because I knew I’d likely get a free soda out of it. Nowadays when my family needs me to babysit or do a job, I always think a bit harder about doing it when they offer some money, or I know whatever they want me to do is going to take me past somewhere I like or offer some other benefit to me.

Those are small examples, but a lot bigger ones exist. Some of us may be involved in jobs, for example, in which we interact with clients that might want favors or offer them in exchange for more business. Some of us in school or college know that if teachers or professors think of us as “the good student”, they’ll be a bit more lenient on quizzes and tests at grading time.

In all of these cases, there’s always a temptation to just “let it slide”. After all, if someone is offering you a favor without necessarily expecting to get anything back, why not take it? If someone is offering you something, why not accept? Think back to Twilight Sparkle. She could have just accepted those favors. She could have let Fluttershy clean her house, let Rainbow Dash give her a sunny outing, or let Applejack treat her to a massive meal. After all, if they wanted to do that, why not? Why not just take it and then make the decision for yourself later on who to give the ticket to? Don’t we all like “free favors”?

In Exodus 23:8, the Bible cautions: “And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.” Twilight Sparkle didn’t only want to refuse the favors, she didn’t want any favors being made to her…period. She didn’t want to even let the hint of “getting things for free” possibly influence her decision. She didn’t want to be at the point where she was thinking: “Well, maybe this pony can give me a little extra food or nice weather or a neat outfit if I give her my ticket…” But most of all, she didn’t want to be at the point where she was seeing one of her brand new friends in a better light simply because she could “get the most out of them”, which is a very healthy attitude to have.

Jesus calls us to love all people equally. In Luke 14:12-14,  “He said also to the man who had invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.’” I don’t think Jesus was just telling us to be concerned about “getting rewards from God” in this situation; to be thinking forward about who we were getting “brownie points” with. He was also cautioning us not to be good or make friends just because we want to get paid back for everything we give them. That we should see people who have nothing to offer us in terms of wealth or status with just as much favor and love as we do those who are better off.

And I hope we can all be like Twilight Sparkle in the sense that when we see people trying to sway us one way or another, we can flee from it…er, hopefully without having to resort to Benny Hill.

Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that you see all people equally, without regard to wealth, prestige, social standing, or status. Please help us to see people in the same way and never be off-put from loving others from their lack of money nor drawn to them for their abundance. And help me to recognize whenever someone is trying to sway me with a bribe and have the good sense to steer clear from it. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”