Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O That Will Be Glory"1 (Lyrics)
Proverbs 10:2 – Ill-gotten treasures profit nothing but justice saves from death. (NABRE)
Ephesians: 4:28 – The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his [own] hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need. (NABRE)
Sometimes, we happen upon valuable lessons. Bless the Lord that He sends them to us. A case in point: I inadvertently took something home from the store that did not belong to me: a packet of aspirins. I had fully intended to pay for it, but found it in my shopping bag at home and could not find it listed among the items on my bill. Wow! That was an easy win, I thought. I didn't even try to steal it, but I ended up with it anyway. A few days went by, and I ruminated about it. My conscience was hounding me. I reasoned that I had not tried to take it without paying, therefore it was not my fault. As much as this sounded good to me, my conscience continually said No! Yes — you guessed it — I finally had to go back to the store with my bill and explain the oversight that had happened. I was praised for my honesty, but that did not release me from my guilty feelings. You see, I knew my intentions when I had discovered the error, and I was willing to sit on it for a few days, arguing back and forth with myself. I thank my mom's upbringing for making me finally do the right thing.
Freedom of conscience: how good it is! In these last few years, I have heard it said that we should not apologize for anything or be responsible. Life is different now, we tell ourselves. If taking supplies from work beguiles us, we justify it by saying, Well, I work hard enough around here, and they surely owe it to me. We live in a world where wrong is right and right is wrong. Where do we draw the line today? Do we invent a new way of thinking about things and go further down the line of deceit? Do we tell ourselves that it is okay because everyone else does it? Can we really look ourselves in the eye and think that it is all right? Someone has to pay for it. How does self-justification in our breaking of the eighth commandment — "Thou shalt not steal" — inspire us to improve any bad habits that we may have? Does this invariably lead to breaking other rules without compunction? How far will we go once our conscience is dulled? What do others think of our actions?
When our children lie or steal, do we overlook it, or do we ask them to correct those errors and make an effort to be better in the future? Is honesty something that we believe in for their lives, or is it just for when they lie to or steal from us? Let us examine our own thoughts and see which it is. Have we given them this bad example? Have they heard us tell "little white lies" to our bosses or to our friends? I am sure that I have been guilty of this in the past, and yet I, as a mother, would be quick to correct my children, pointing out to them how wrong it is. It seems to be comfortable to correct someone else.
Having accountability or boundaries gives us a clear path to follow and will stand us in good stead when temptation comes near. Oh yes, we all have temptations coming at us. Sometimes, we fail, but we always have an opportunity to win against them. Conquering temptations makes us stronger and more able to overcome them. Flexing moral muscles is what our God helps us to do. Thank You, God!
Prayer: Dear Lord, please continue to enable us to improve our way of living and our way of being examples to others in this life. We want to please You and to help each other always to be in Your good favour. Help us when we are weak. We depend on Your mercy and Your assistance to be better creations. Amen.