Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Proverbs 10:9
Old expressions like "honesty is the best policy" don't seem to carry much weight today.
That's because we've seen a lot of dishonest folks get by with their dishonesty. Even so, such truisms still retain a certain solidity.
Take, for example, the story of Dennis Quiggley. Quiggley didn't press charges against the 14-year-old thief who tried to siphon gas from his motor home.
Quiggley thinks the criminal has already paid the price for his stealing. It seems the thief, who became quite ill from his attempt to steal, had intended to siphon the contents of Quiggley's gas tank. Unfortunately, the lad put his siphoning hose into the wrong hole and, instead of gas, he sucked up a healthy swig of the motor home's sewage tank.
Now I have a theory. Although I can't prove it, I believe people would become real honest, real fast, if they were caught and punished as quickly as was Quiggley's thief.
Instant punishment might lead to fewer repeating bad people.
Of course, instant punishment is not the way the Lord usually works, is it? Yes, there are instances recorded in Scripture where Sin A is immediately taken care of by Punishment B. Even so, the Lord expects us to behave ourselves because it's right, or because we wish to thank Him for His kindnesses, or for lots of good reasons -- but not because we're scared to death of being punished.
Indeed, Christians do what is right because they have a Savior who took their place under the Law and did all that was necessary to give us salvation. We wish to honor Him and do what pleases Him. It's the right thing to do. It's the Christian thing to do.
And that's a truth all of us -- not just a 14-year-old gas thief -- should learn.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear God, I come before You this day thanking You for all You have given me. Help me to be conscious on a daily basis of how I treat those around me. May my actions be those that would bring honor to You. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries