When I was very young, I stole a candy bar from the grocery store. It was one of the mom and pop shops that dotted neighborhoods around my small town. As so many of us have had to endure, I was marched back in and made to confess and apologize for taking what was not rightfully mine. It wasn’t easy and definitely painful, but my parent’s actions were the right thing to do.
I’ll share a bit more because there were a few other times when my ill-gotten gains were not detected. I’d secretly enjoy the treat while regaling in having gotten away with something devious, yet simultaneously battling back the twist of guilt in my gut.
Although they were the same candy, each tasted very differently. Openly enjoying a snack with my family and friends was a fun and happy time. Hiding in my room or outside behind the house while hurrying to shove chocolate in my mouth was not. Then, there was the burden of disposing of the wrapper and always overlooking evidence that remained on my lips, fingers or shirt.
Right now, we have a great opportunity to stop at the cluttered glass door to the local shops that are the heart and soul of our nation and ask whether the candy is ours or not. Maybe it was a giveaway, or it was actually meant as a gift, or possibly someone paid it forward.
But the test of integrity is to not assume, ignore or sneak out of that shop before asking about it in the open. Some folks are okay with walking out with what they know isn’t theirs. Others are walking away feeling entitled to having the candy bar, and still some don’t care either way except that they get to snack on something that might belong to them or not.
Willing To Stop
The only way we all know for sure is by taking a moment to stop, ask and accept the truth of whose hands it actually belongs in. Sure, you might sneak away with it for now, but what precedent does that set going forward? What does it say about you as a person that wasn’t interested in truth, integrity and a legacy of illegitimacy scorched against the very shop serving your community?
You know the funny thing is, even if you walk away from that shop with your pockets full of unearned sweets, there’s always someone else waiting to take it from you. When it wasn’t yours in the first place, it will always be up for grabs by others with a similar at-all-cost mentality. You’ve also forfeited the security of knowing someone of authority will help make sure that your candy bar is enjoyed by you.
Running from the shop may give you a temporary charge of entitlement, but consuming the gains of greed only leaves you with an aching belly, a worried mind and the desecration of the only store that’s been there to support, supply and sustain you. Taking now and paying later always costs everyone more. I can’t even recall what brand of candy it was, but I will always feel the sting of doing the wrong thing. Wasn’t that the lesson in the first place?
Praying For You
There is freedom waiting for you on the other side of tough times. I’m praying that you begin to identify the blessings in your life and focus on them until you breakthrough into a new, anointed light. PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need someone to walk through the process with you.
Make sure to get connected at Five Stones Church.Online – we have an incredible community and small groups.
Much Love & Respect, Scott
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