Monday, June 7, 2010

Hook Or By Crook

I pretended to be asleep as my Uncle entered our bedroom and announced,

“Wake up girls and get dressed, we are going to pit apricots today.”

I had come for a week long visit to my favorite cousin’s home, and it appeared that we were going to be able to chat and laugh while we worked.

My uncle wanted to instill in his children a good work ethic, and this was one way to expose them (and me) to the real world. Our pay was only a few cents for each tray we completed, but by the end of the week, I had saved enough for a new pair of shoes for school.

That week end, my cousin introduced me to Betsy, her friend from school.

Betsy suggested that we walk downtown to visit the local five and dime store. This was a small town, and other than a skating rink, there was not a lot to keep active kids occupied and amused.

Window shopping was entertaining and the looking was free, so we gave the store a good once over! Since but there was nothing I wanted or needed, I was bored and ready to head back to my cousins home.

We hadn’t gone too far when Betsy proudly displayed some lipstick that she had “shop lifted.”

I was horrified and exclaimed,

“You must take it back, stealing is wrong!”

She laughed and emphatically stated, “No way, it is mine now!”

The week was soon over and I returned to my home with the money I had earned, to spend for new shoes. Our large city had a large number of stores to select from, so I went shopping.

In one of the stores, I noticed a free-standing table with a beautiful display of scarves. The thought occurred to me to carefully roll one of the scarves up, and slip it into the bag I was carrying with my new shoes.

I had never done anything like this before, but my cousin’s friend had given me the idea, and the devil took over from there. Yes, it was so easy, and I did not get caught - - BUT my tender conscious got the better of me.

Catching my bus for home, I hid the scarf in my bed room, and suffered miserably from guilt, all week! Over and over again, I repented to God and begged forgiveness, but return it I must!

The following week end I was able to make another trip down town. This time, I did a reverse action, and dropped the scarf back where it belonged. I did not confess to the store clerk what I had done, as there was no need to do so, and returning the scarf eased my shame.

The Hound of Heaven was always on my trail. The heavy burden of carrying guilt was more than I could bear, and I found it best to make amends, and to ask forgiveness of God who knows it all, and sees everything we do.

If you have done something you are ashamed of, and someone else is involved, you may need to ask forgiveness from them as well as from the Lord. Restitution can not always be made, but the Lord will show you how far you need to go in making things right.

Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, so that he may have something to give to him who needs.

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