Friday, March 24, 2017

Security Takes a Holiday: Part 1

Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure if you should share certain information?  Well, that has been an issue the past two weeks concerning something that happened in the middle of our “Days of Favor” week I communicated on March 10th, 2017. 

You know that my husband and I share our life experiences with you, especially when it comes to the favor of God.  What happened really didn’t line up with the theme of this site, so we waited to say anything until we felt that the Lord gave us the okay. 

Warning … this is not the “usual” type post,
but I’ll explain next week.

With that said, turn back a few pages with me to March 8th, 2017 where our scene takes place at a local supermarket/department store. 

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Wet Shoes 

It seems our timing was off a little bit on Wednesday ... or was it? Thinking back on the day, I believe the timing was God putting us in a certain place at a specific time for a reason to be revealed in due course. 

We had hoped to leave the house by 11 a.m. and were doing fairly well staying on schedule.  I was ready and my husband just finished washing up some rubber mats in the backyard when he came into the house shaking his head. 

In a rush he accidentally dumped the water bucket soaking his right foot.  Laughing it off he hurriedly changed into dry shoes and socks.

Do You See What I See? 

Once underway, things returned to "normal" and we were favored with a great parking spot at the shopping center.  We both grabbed a cart and before getting started headed off to the restrooms. 

Walking ahead of my husband I didn’t realize that I was partially blocking the aisle; it’s not unusual for me to unintentionally take the middle of the “road”. With hubby following he noticed that a man was trying to get around me and called out, "Hon, move over so he can get by you."  

"That's okay, no problem." The man said as he leaned over my cart sideways, tilting his head giving me a clown faced closed mouth smile.  At this point I had no clue to what was going on, but moved aside allowing the gentleman to pass.  

My observant husband however, watched as he continued into the restroom carrying a pair of pants and a shirt on their hangers flaunting them as the tags waved in the air.  Standing there in amazement we looked at one another when my husband said, “Did you see that? Is he stealing those?”  

I couldn’t help but wonder, “Didn’t he read the sign on the door about bringing merchandise in the restrooms?  There are signs plastered all over the walls.”  

At the same time we noticed a store supervisor standing by a check-out facing the restrooms. She was sort of gazing in his direction, so not thinking anything of it hubby was sure she saw what happened and had things under control.  After all, the man walked right in front of her. 

Off the Rack 

Leaving my cart I went to the ladies room but to no surprise it was full. Turning around I came back out and sat down on the bench next to hubby, motioning he should go ahead because it might be a while for me.  Taking my advice (I should record that one!) he entered the boy’s room and … well, I’ll let hubby tell it his way. 

“When I got inside the restroom, there was the man with the clothes on the hangers standing smack in the middle of the floor with nothing on except his undergarment.  That awkward display was something I hadn’t expected to see, nor was it a very attractive sight.  

Oblivious to the other man in the bathroom, the off the rack new shirt and pants were draped over the stalls as the guy became a quick change artist blocking the area for anyone who entered. 

Not being comfortable with the situation hubby tried to avert his eyes from what was happening and grunted, “Yo man, you mind moving your stuff so I can pass by?”  

Snatching the clothes off the stall doors he responded, “Sorry”, and went about his business.  I can only imagine what the other man behind a stall was thinking when a pair of pants came slapping over top of his door.  Listening to the conversation I doubt he really wanted to know what was happening. 

As I was washing my hands the fella was standing to my left admiring his new ensemble in the mirror saying to no one in particular, “I don’t need these hangers now.” ditching them in the trash can.  

With a strange look on his face hubby came out of the restroom and sat next to me on the bench revealing what had just transpired. By now the store associate was no longer watching and had gone over to customer service. Hubby looked at me and said, "What do you think we should do?" 

Rising to the Occasion 

In the middle of talking, the gentleman came out of the restroom with his old clothes rolled up in a small bundle holding them in his hand.  Mumbling something he tucked the clothes up under his arm and walked to his right.  Stopping abruptly he turned around and headed toward “exit stage left” still babbling as he walked past us. 

Suddenly I was sitting with a nine year old as hubby whispered in rapid fire, “Do you think he’s stealing those clothes?  I think he’s stealing those clothes.  Maybe he’s not … but maybe he is.  Do you think he’s stealing those clothes?  Maybe he paid for them, what do you think?  Do you think he’s …” 

“Stop already!” I said trying to get him to slow down.  “Why don’t you follow him and see what he does.” Rising to the occasion, off he went.  With quite a few steps to his favor the man had already exited the building walking right by the security person posted at the exit.   

Back to hubby’s adventure ... 

Running as fast as I could I reached the exit of the store.  Puffing and out of breath I bent over holding myself up with my hands on my knees getting the attention of the security guard.  Lifting one arm I pointed at the door saying, “That man just stole those clothes he’s wearing.” 

He sprang into action yelling into his wrist radio, “Security, security, code yellow … SWARM, SWARM, SWARM!”  A team of officers apprehended the offender in the parking lot, and with his arms held behind him they brought him back into the store marching the “king” by me.  “Well done, Sir.” The security guard praised me as he followed behind the others. 

Okay, busted!  That didn’t happen, but it sounded good don’t you think?  Here is what really happened… 

Guarding Pluto 

I asked the security guard, "Did you see the man that just walked out the exit?"   He answered in an “I don’t want to get involved way” … "No, sorry."   

How could he have missed this guy?  First off he was the only person in the area leaving the store.  Secondly, the “king in his new clothes” stood about 6'4" tall and weighed around 300 pounds!  Was his brain on Pluto to have missed this dude and his shiny new duds?  Where’s Paul Blart when you need him? 

When I explained to the security person what had happened he said that he would report it when he got relieved from his post. Hello, “Elvis” has left the building!  Obviously he wasn’t moving from that spot. 

Not really sure this fella completely understood his job description.  I guess his title is “occasional” loss prevention, standing diligent to tackle the 80 year old grandma that might set off the alarm with a can of oven cleaner she purchased.  Then it’s “go time” to stop and check her receipt.  (Side note here … do you think he’s being a tiny bit sarcastic? Okay, guess you caught that too.) 

I went outside to see if I could locate the sharp dressed man, but he had vanished into thin air. How do you hide somebody that tall?  In the man's defense, he did have good taste in his clothing selection and he looked mighty fine strutting out the door. 

Stolen Favor 

His story wasn’t over, and hubby filled in more of the details of the event.  By now I had left the area and wasn’t aware that my husband was so disturbed about the matter. Frankly I believed that everything worked itself out and he was getting the pet food, because when I looked for him by the exit door he was nowhere to be found. 

Passing the security guard, whom I am sure didn’t see me because his mind was somewhere on another planet, I came back into the store.  I still wasn’t sure what to do but felt I needed to do something. 

I decided to go to customer service and saw the same supervisor who I thought was watching the man walk into the restroom with the clothes on a hanger.  When I asked her about the incident she said that she hadn't noticed him, and evidently security didn't have him in their sights either so he just walked away with ease.  Poof-poof, he was gone.  

In our conversation I told her that I felt bad about even saying anything since he may have had a real need for those new clothes.  Can you believe what she said?  "You know what I think about that? If you have a need, get a job!"  

She may be right in theory, but not at the level of passing judgment without knowing all the details.  The same holds true for me.  I don’t have any right to judge him.  

Was he stealing or not?  Had he purchased them stuffing the receipt in his pocket and decided to forgo the bag because he wanted to wear them home?    

If he didn’t have the money I would have told him to give me the tags and gone and paid for them.  Then I’d bring him the receipt so he wouldn’t get in trouble. 

Would you say that man received favor that day?  Stolen favor maybe.  Or did someone drop the ball on doing the right thing?  With this mystery unresolved, we took a deep breath and went about our shopping.  

A New Level of Thinking 

The entire incident baffled us and we continued to talk about it the rest of the day.  Later that night I suggested, “Maybe the guy was an angel; after all you said he vanished without a trace.”  To which he responded, “If he was, I would have hoped that he had better drawers.”  Ooo .. too much information! 

So for the past two weeks we have been trying to figure out the lesson in what we witnessed.  What were we supposed to do?  What should we have done?  Why out of about 500 people in the store, half of them being men who could have used the same restroom, were we the only ones to see this?  (Or were we?) 

Where is the favor in all of this?  If the man stole the clothes the store didn’t get favor.  In fact if the clothing turned out to be ill-gotten gains and he got away with it, the man was making his own favor and God doesn’t work His favor in that way. 

This takes when God says in Deuteronomy 28:6, “You will be blessed when you are coming in and going out” to a whole new level.  When we take a look at what happened does this come down to what society deems as a moral issue, or was my husband simply being a snitch that should have minded his own business? 

What is Morality & Who Determines What is Moral? 

If someone is called snitch our minds automatically change the way we think of a person or situation.  Informer, stool pigeon, squealer, tattletale and blabbermouth are just a few more words that come into my head.  I begin to wonder if this person can be trusted and what were their motives behind the actions they took.  It all comes down to morals. 

When people think of morality they incorporate principles concerning the distinction between what is right and wrong or good and bad behavior.  Moral values have to do with what is decided to be proper standards including honesty, integrity, just and honorable or decent behavior in society. 

Based on morals people determine what should or should not be done in any given situation and often times there is a motive behind the behavior.  Christians determine what morality is based on God’s character revealed to us through His inspired Word. 

When it comes to who determines what is defined as moral behavior we have to consider that this differs among cultures and they may depend on a specific situation.  Then there are some things universally recognized as immoral or moral such as dealings with children, animals, environment, marriage, discipline, business dealings, etc.  What might be innocent and acceptable in one nation could possibly be a disgrace in another. 

Free Will vs. God’s Will 

A moral decision acts in conjunction with the mind and will of man.  It doesn’t always line up with God’s will or His laws concerning the desired behavior mankind should reflect as His image bearers. 

Free moral agents always act and choose according to their most persuasive inclinations of what they are thinking.  It’s as simple as this, if a person desires to obey Christ they won't sin.  

We follow our strongest desires at the time of any situation. We always choose our behavior based on a reason.  I did this because ... I did that because ... There is a reason we always do things.  

Force and coercion (pressure) may cause us to do things we don't want to do and behave differently than normal by reducing our options.   For example, a robber makes a person give up their wallet. The individual does it because he or she has a strong desire to live, which is greater than not obeying the criminal.  Immoral behavior won based on pressure to make a decision against moral belief. 

Human desires fluctuate and go up and down like a yo-yo because of our free will.  We have to decide what will allow us to serve Christ and do what’s morally correct in His sight. 

The Apostle Paul said that he battled with his own will when it came to doing the moral or right thing as a believer.  In laymen terms, “I can choose against my desires when I do what I don't want to do.”   We’re no different than him when it comes to always doing the moral thing. 

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 

If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 

But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to
will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 

For the good that I will to do, I do not do;
but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 

Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it,
 but sin that dwells in me.” (Romans 7:15-20 NKJV) 

Fallen man has a free will to choose or not to choose righteousness. Every choice we make is free.  Even if we do it against our will through external forces we still decide what to do, including submission based on things out of our control. 

God has given us a free will to choose to do the right thing or the wrong thing for that matter. He has also revealed to us His will and laws to follow in order to receive favor and high esteem from Him and mankind. 

“My son, do not forget My law, but let your heart keep My commands;
for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem
in the sight of God and man." (Proverbs 3:1-3 NKJV)

This Week’s Challenge:
To Rat or Not to Rat? 

Ratting someone out or being a snitch isn’t something we want to be labeled, but are there times when “ratting” on someone is the right thing to do without making us a betrayer or “Judas”?  

So, who decides when it’s right or wrong?  What guidelines are there in making our decision? 

Our desires determine our choices good or bad, right or wrong. We determine what we will do, which brings us to this week’s “morality” challenge. 

Having thought about this, search the scriptures in considering how you will answer these questions on morality when it comes to the position of a believer that witnesses something like we did. 

 What do you think should have been the course of action for this incident? 

2   Was bringing this “alleged stealing” information to someone’s attention being a tattle-tale or is it merely informing?   

 When does the morality aspect come into play?   

 Does the scripture James 5:20 on “covering a multitude of sins” apply in this instance? 

5 – Did favor play any part of this situation? If so how? If not, why not? 

Next week I’ll share more of the story in part two, and what the Word of God says on the subject. 

A special thanks to my husband for openly sharing his “adventure” that we might gain wisdom, knowledge and insight to the mind of Christ.

Do What’s Right by Angelo & Veronica

Have you read:
Security Takes a Holiday: Part 1
Security Takes a Holiday: Part 2
Security Takes a Holiday: Part 3

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Until next time, God’s favor cannot be stolen!

“Righteousness receives favor.”
Jesus Christ 

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Note: Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

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