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Little Thief
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One afternoon when I was a kid, my mom, with my sister and I in tow, went to pick up some supplies at a small bookstore near our home. The store had shelves of brightly colored paper, shiny new staplers, pencils, pens, and other supplies.

As my mother shopped, I wandered the rows looking for something I could convince my mom to buy for me. I rounded a corner and found an isle full or stuffed animals, smiley-face stickers and a small round bin filled to the brim with colorful, squishy erasers and I just had to have one! I spent a few minutes picking out the eraser I really wanted. Finally I spotted a bright aqua eraser shaped like a tennis-shoe.

I grabbed it and ran over to my mother, trying to explain why the world wouldn't be the same if I couldn't own this particular eraser. I used my best sales pitches, but to no avail. So after much pleading and gnashing of teeth, I walked defeated back to the bin, to put “my” eraser back.

As I watched the eraser fall back into the bin, I suddenly had an idea. What if I just put it in my pocket and forgot that it was there, and when I got home to my shock remembered that I'd forgotten to put it back, and of course by default had to keep it. So, that's exactly what I did! I slipped it into my pocket and when it was time to check out, I just shuffled out the door with my mom and sister, and walked home.

Something was Missing

Back at the house, I pulled the aqua shoe eraser out of my pocket and marveled at it, but it just didn't seem quite as awesome as it was back in the store. Something was missing! I felt like I wasn't supposed to own it, and I wasn't! I had been told to put it back, and I hadn't!

Needless to say it wasn't long before my mother discovered that I had stolen the shoe eraser, and she scolded me, and told me to “march yourself right down to the store and give it back, and say you're sorry for stealing.”  

“But mom, I'm too embarrassed to do that, can't you do it for me”? “You found a way to steal it on your own, so now you need to return it on your own.”

That was one of the hardest things I'd ever had to do at that point in my young life. I walked into the store, my heart pounding, my palms sweating and I told the kind lady at the checkout what I'd done, and that I was very sorry, and I'd never do it again.

Thankfully she was very understanding and forgave me, but the lesson was learned. The consequences of stealing are far worse than the result of having the stolen object.

“You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” (Leviticus 19:11).

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By Benjamin DuBose. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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