"The righteous person acts with integrity; his children who come after him will be happy." Proverbs 20:7
There was this day that found me in the grocery store with two of my grandchildren (pre-pandemic), doing my weekly shopping. Now I would be fooling you to say that shopping with little ones is easy when you have raised your own. You know, like riding a bicycle, you just hop back on and it's smooth sailing. Not so much.
First of all, let me make it clear that I am in no way blaming them for what I did. It was all on me and I had to make things right. So, here goes.
I pushed a buggy full of food and Finley up and down each isle while four year old Nate walked along beside, because there was no room for him in the overloaded cart. He was good for the most part, a few times needing to be reminded to stay near the buggy and don't throw just any foodstuff into it that Bo doesn't know about (plus the fact of hitting his sister in the head with said stuff.) It was quite the change from my normal shopping trip to say the least. As we entered the self checkout lane (I learned "self-checkout" was better utilized when all alone.) I finally let Fin out after all her begging to be with her brother, making them take an oath that they would stay close to me.
I scanned each item and threw them into bags, quickly throwing each bag back into the cart all the while keeping one eye on the little ones (there may have been a small display overturned during this time. Of course, I stopped to clean that up.) As I finally ended the check-out phase, we waved good-bye to all the friendly people and started our journey out into the parking lot. I buckled both babies into their carseats and threw my groceries into the back of my SUV, clamoring my way inside as it began to rain. Whew! We made it out alive and well, but the story doesn't end there.
As I began to back my vehicle out of the parking spot it occurred to me that I had no idea what the total of my bill came out to be. I quickly passed it off thinking I would check the receipt when I got home. No sooner had I thought that I realized I didn't get my receipt. Oh my goodness...I didn't pay for my groceries!
Do you know that feeling when you trip and you quickly look around to see if anyone saw you...that was how I felt. I pulled back into the parking spot, unloaded the babies into a buggy and took off back into the store (in the rain.)
I walked out that day with a load of groceries that I did not pay for. I was mortified to have to admit to the store employee what I had done. Now I wanted to just hand my card over and let them quickly take care of this mishap and let me be on my way with a trail of "I'm sorries" coming from my mouth, but that wasn't so.
The kind girl took my receipt that was given to her by the customer that used the machine after me and had to scan each item on this receipt back into the computer. I stood on trial for a crime I did commit. Thankfully I was able to pay our way and they released us.
As I drove away from that store as you would imagine many thoughts were filling my head. I knew I had to make it right. By returning back in the store I prayed that the young girl who helped me saw Christ in my honesty. As we had to wait I explained to Nate what I had done and how important it was to correct my mistake. 'Integrity is who you are when no one is watching' and I wanted this to be a lesson for him even at his young age. And really someone is always watching, right? I knew God was watching to see how I would handle this situation.
"Surely you desire integrity in the inner self." (Ps. 51:6)
Is there an area of your life where you've been tempted to fudge a little because it will take work to make it right? Rest assured. It matters. Integrity in the small things is still God's way.
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Help me to be honest in all things, even when no one is watching. Forgive me for missed opportunities of being true to myself and to You. Guide me as I go and may honesty always be a priority. And thank You for that still small voice that stops us in our tracks when things are not quite right. In Jesus' name. Amen.