January 5, 2011

Stealing & God's Name at The Home Depot

Have you ever been surprised by some of the stupidest things people do when it comes to stealing something? Sometimes, their behavior is just astounding to see and hear what they have attempted to do, thinking they won’t get away with their crime.

Well, I have been working part-time at The Home Depot in Danbury, CT and in the early summer of 2009, a failed attempt by a Bonnie & Clyde team yielded a recovery of about $1,500 worth of heavy duty Hilti brand tools, these two tried to take without paying.

In the early spring of 2010, a tag team of two men walked out of the store with an $800 barbecue grill!  This happened in the early morning too, when there weren't very many people working near the front entrance of the store.

One of the store associates saw these two men leaving the store and thought they were acting a bit suspicious pushing the grill to their car. When she had asked a few of the cashiers in the store if anyone had just sold a grill, they all said no. She was then dismayed by the realization that a big ticket item was stolen from the store.

What I heard that was stolen yesterday morning was unbelievable too!

The Crime: Stealing a Snow Blower
Yesterday morning, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., someone walked in and walked out with a $500 snow blower!

I am amazed by the bravery and audacity of such people who think they have truly escaped getting caught. The security cameras, I hope, were able to get a good picture of who this thief was that stole the snow blower and that he will be caught and prosecuted.

When someone steals any form of merchandise, from any place of business, that person should be prosecuted and should serve time in prison for their crime. It is the law and when the law is broken, the judge has the right to sentence the criminal to prison for the crime they have committed.

Many people that have been unaffected by the crime are passionate in their belief that such a thief should go to prison for the crime they committed against the store and rightly so.

But when it comes to the Commandment of God, “You shall not steal”, (Exodus 20:15, ESV) people feel equally the same about God’s just punishment toward those that have stolen, regardless of the amount, but mostly when the amount is obscene.

However, many of those same people expect God to be lenient with themselves when it comes to stealing something that is not so obscene, like, cheating on the time-clock for hours worked, or stealing inventory supplies that are designated for retail sale or corporate use, but instead they have acquired items that do not belong to them, for personal use without paying for them.

The sad part about the thieves that stole the grill and the snow blower from the store is that they will likely boast that they didn’t get caught, but they really haven't under the eyes of God.

Neither they, nor anyone else escapes His justice that they will one day meet, on their day of judgment.

The Crime: Using God’s Name in Vain

I’m fortunate to work at such a great store and with a lot of great people. Even the first store I worked at in Nyack, New York has some great people there and many of them were very respectful regarding my seminary education and my pursuit toward a career in full-time ministry.

I have had fortunate opportunities to minister to a number of people I work with and even a few customers too.

I have often heard people and a few times from a few associates, use God’s name in vain and I’ve often replied by saying, “Why do you want to damn God’s name like that when you know you’re going to be calling on Him in the future for His help?” The reply is the same every time, which is, “You’re right,” and they draw near to God with their lips to repent of their sin, yet their heart is far from Him (Matthew 15:8).

Well, during the morning yesterday, one of our associates made his store announcement, which he does regularly regarding various messages to remind customers of special service promotions or sales the customers should be aware of.

After his message, which I think was, “Thank you for shopping the Danbury Home Depot,” someone yelled, “Turn off that G-d damn message!”

I was in one of the aisles when I heard this and he was in an aisle on either side of me, but I could not tell.

When I heard this, my heart became so enraged to hear God’s name used so vehemently and disrespectfully too. Like Jeremiah, I felt His Word burning within me and I was certainly weary of holding it back and no longer could (Jeremiah 20:9).

Because of this burning Word in my heart that could not be held back, I proclaimed quite loudly for all to hear, “Is it really necessary to use the Lord’s name in vain? The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain!” (Exodus 20:7)

(I've written a previous post titled, The Abuse of God's Name here.)

There was silence on the floor following the proclamation and no one was bold enough to offer a retort concerning what they just heard. Now that is not to say they weren’t bold enough to respond to me, rather they weren’t bold enough to respond to God’s Word and the certain charge of guilt for uttering something so foolish and condemning!

Quite a few associates knew that I was the one who said this because they all know that I attend seminary and that I am interning as a pastor at a local church, not too far from the store. No one is avoiding me either because I said this, but they know that what they heard is the truth, God will not hold any man or woman guiltless for using His name in vain.

If people know your convictions regarding what you believe about the Bible and you have shared that with them, an outburst such as this should not come as a surprise to anyone, except those that do not know you.

My heart was grieved over the selfishness and foolishness of whomever used God’s name for their selfish pleasure because He will not allow a simple, casual apology, nor be lenient regarding the justified punishment that awaits them, upon their death. The same is true for the thieves that stole merchandise from the store.

A thief may escape apprehension by the local police, but no one will escape the judgment of God, regardless of the sin because there is neither a little sin that merits a little punishment, nor a greater sin that merits a greater punishment. All sin is equal before God and receives an equal punishment for the transgressor.

Even though this judgment awaits every person that has broken God’s law and an eternal punishment in hell for such guilty people, God has also provided a way for their transgressions to be expunged.

The pardon for sin, such as theft, blasphemy, lying, adultery, or anything else that is in direct violation to God’s Commandments, is placed upon Jesus Christ when He was crucified.

Jesus Christ, who had no sin in His life, became an offering of sin to God, so that any person that acknowledged their sin before the justice and holiness of God, repented of their sin and placed their faith for the forgiveness of their sin in Jesus Christ would be completely forgiven.

Examine your life now. If you had to stand before God in the next 5 seconds, would you be able to stand before Him completely forgiven in Christ, if He is not the One who bore the penalty of your sins?

Please, do not forsake the grace and mercy of God, whom put His Son on the cross to atone for your sins.

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