Last week, I was grocery shopping with 5/6 of my kids. I had a list to help keep me on track. Anyone who has shopped with multiple children knows that it is hard to keep your thoughts straight--even with a list. The kids were goofing off as usual. They weren't listening. Things were crazy and I was just happy when we were finished shopping.
As I was packing kids and bags of groceries into the car, I discovered something. A bottle of lemon juice that had been tucked next to my 1-year-old in the child seat. I had not paid for this item!!! Granted, it was $1.98--not very much money, right? But, it would be dishonest just the same to not pay for it--even if it was only one cent. And, how could I teach my children to be honest if I was not likewise practicing honesty myself? And how could I be 'okay' with myself and the Lord if I was dishonest?
I had a choice to make. I could A) Just forget about it and take it home. B) Take it back into the store and just not purchase it--but we needed it to eat with fish that night! C) Haul all of the kids back into the store and make a separate purchase for the lemon juice--no thank you! I didn't like any of these options.
I had a little inspiration and decide upon D) Next time I went to said store, I would pick up another bottle of lemon juice, explain to the cashier what had happened, pay for the lemon juice, and leave it at the store.
So, fast forward to the end of last week. I was back at the store sans children and with a friend. We were getting a warmer jacket because I am always freezing, especially outside. As we were looking, I remembered my lemon juice problem. I told my friend what had happened...and picked up the juice before we left.
At the checkout stand, I explained to the cashier what had happened. She was a bit confused at first, but then I got her to understand the situation. She exclaimed, "You're going to the Celestial Kingdom!" (Haha! Only in a highly populated LDS area, eh?). I laughed, felt embarrassed and ultimately just wanted to get done and pay my debt. She thanked me a few times and said that I made her night.
It made me think that most people may not be so honest. Maybe people get so tainted by just seeing theft all of the time that to see someone honest is just a shock. I have returned items to the store before that had similarly been hidden in my cart. I really hoped that everyone did this, but I guess not.
Consider this message from Acts 5:1-11--it is a pretty intense story about dishonesty:
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, asold possession,I think that story makes it very clear as to what God thinks about honesty. Hopefully, we do not need such a bold personal lesson.
And akept back b of the price, his wife also being privy and brought a certain cpart, and laid at the apostles’ feet.
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to alie to the Holy Ghost, and to bkeep back of the price of the land?
Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not alied unto men, but unto bGod.
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and agave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried out, and buried And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to atempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband at the door, and shall carry thee out.
Then fell she down astraightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying forth, buried by her husband.
And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
If you have some unresolved honesty issues, take care of them. Become 100% honest--not for what others will think, but for what your and God will think. After all, honesty IS the best policy.