A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.
It occurred to me today after I had paid for my groceries in the store that there’s a lesson to be learned in just about every thing we do, no matter how insignificant the moment might seem. Today’s lesson stemmed from my realization that the checkout person had given me too much change for the purchases I had made. And, of course, I returned to her and gave her back the extra dollar. But this led me to remember a time many years ago when my daughter was only 14 and Christmas shopping by herself at the mall (I was there but let her go to the music store by herself to buy a cassette tape she wanted to give her brother.) Anyway, her purchase was less than $5.00 and she gave the clerk that much. Somehow, in the confusion of a multitude of holiday shoppers, the clerk thought she’d given him a $20.00 and he gave her back almost $15.00 too much change. My daughter left the store with the money but soon was struck with feeling guilty, and she confessed to me what had happened. I asked her what she thought would happen to the clerk and asked how she would feel if the roles had been reversed. Needless to say, she returned the money and left the music store really understanding the true meaning of generosity of spirit, a wonderful lesson to learn at Christmas. Unfortunately, only a few years later, the roles were really reversed; she gave a customer too much change during a transaction she was ringing up at a widely known convenience store chain in NJ, where she worked, and realized her mistake only after this person had left in their car. The difference was about $10.00, and my daughter had that amount withheld from her next paycheck…a lot for a 17-year-old making minimum wage!
The difference between my daughter and this other customer? We instilled in her the lessons of right and wrong at a very early age. We showed her, by our example, how we expected her to act toward others. We taught her that the most important thing is to have the courage to act and do that which her heart tells her is right, even if everyone else tries to tell her it’s wrong. And because of these simple parenting lessons, she developed character. And while those persons who have character are seldom singled out for recognition, those persons without character most assuredly are.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all. The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,and quarreling and abuse will cease. He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the traitor. The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Words of the Wise
Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even to you. Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you? Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them. Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you? Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:1-29 ESV
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