Proverbs 11:1,3 (NIV)
1 The Lord detests dishonest scales,
but accurate weights find favor with him.
3 The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
I read a story the other day that is a great example of integrity. The story is told like this.
The story begins the day I tried to install a particular internet service on my computer. It didn't take me long to discover that I didn't have the right plug on my PC for the necessary modem, and it was clear that I would have to go with a different internet service.
I called the company to inform them that their modem wouldn't work with my system, and I was instructed to wait for the proper shipping labels to arrive in the mail, and then to return their equipment. The labels took a couple of weeks to arrive, but as soon as I had them in hand, I mailed the modem back to the company. Imagine my surprise when I received a bill from this company for two months use of their service!
I was a little upset, needless to say, but a phone call cleared it all up, and I put the entire incident out of my mind.
One day, months later, I decided to call the bank to find out if my paycheck had arrived. It was a good thing I did, because I was informed that my bank balanced showed a $30.00 overdraft! I knew THAT couldn't be right! Upon further investigation, I discovered that this internet company was charging me for a modem that they claimed was never returned!
I was not happy, to say the least, but I remembered how a phone call had corrected the earlier problem, and I called them again. Sure enough, they informed me that they had, indeed, received the modem, and they promised to send me a check that would cover not only what they withdrew from my account, but also the N.S.F. fee.
Okay. They were making things right. It was finally over, and I breathed easily again. Until they charge me for the modem a SECOND time!!!
This time I was furious. Not even taking the time to think, I picked up the phone, and this time NO ONE at the company doubted my frustration! After all, ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH!! After talking, screaming and crying to one person after another, I finally had to accept their word that I would be refunded at a much later date, and that I wouldn't be charged again.
I did finally receive what they owed me, and after depositing it in the bank, I brushed off the entire ordeal. Imagine my astonishment when I then received another check from this internet company, this time for $30.00!
Knowing they didn't owe me any more money, I phoned again. I tried to explain the history of my problem to the gentleman on the other end, but though I was speaking calmly, I could tell by his tone of voice that he was preparing for the worst. It took awhile for me to convince him that I wasn't calling to complain, but to report a mistake.
When he finally understood, he audibly relaxed. “Thanks for your honesty,” he said as he prepared to hang up the phone.
“But I can’t keep the check,” I responded.
His response was incredulous: “Why not?”
“Well, if I cash the check, I would be stealing from you,” I tried to explain, “and stealing is a sin.”
He didn't quite see it that way. “It’s not stealing,” he argued. “You aren't taking it by force!”
“Well, if I take something from someone’s front yard, would that be stealing?” I asked. “Even if it was just laying there and I don’t take it by force?”
It took a while, but in the end he seemed to understand my point of view that taking something that doesn't belong to you is stealing, plain and simple. “I can’t believe you called about this,” he said in the end. “It’s nice to get this kind of a call for a change!” Then he put me on hold in order to go and speak with his boss.
A few moments later he returned. “It was a computer error in your favor,” he explained. “You may keep the check without feeling like a thief!”
I was pretty happy about this, but his next question made me even happier: “Why are you so different, anyway?”
“Because I’m a Christian,” I told him. “I have a relationship with Jesus and I don’t want to sin against Him!”
Imagine my surprise when he responded with: “How can I get to know your Jesus, too?”
I was more than happy to tell him, and when I got off the phone, I was rejoicing. All of that craziness, but in the end, not only did I gain $30.00 (which, believe me, was MUCH needed!), but I also gained a brother in Christ!
As we read this story we can see that life always brings us these kinds of situations. Whenever we find ourselves going through something similar, we need to never forget that it’s always for a reason. It may not always be for our gain, though. It could be to give the chance to someone for finding hope through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Dear Lord, we thank You for all the situations You bring our way. We pray that we would bring honor to You in the way we respond. Help our actions bring others to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.