Monday, June 28, 2010


Posted by Terry McNichols
Some blog posts haunt me until I get them written.  This is one of those.  I struggle sometimes with exactly how vulnerable I want to be in these posts.  So I was struck in the gut by the sermon from my pastor recently when he said “Be honest about your failures.  We need to allow Christ to hold our moral failings in His grace!”  So, here is a story of my recent moral failing.  You might think it a petty failing, but to me it was an important turning point. 

I recently sold an expensive item on eBay, agreeing that I would pay the shipping and have the item packaged professionally so that it wouldn’t be at risk of breaking.  I was very pleased until I found out that the total cost of such a promise was $87 at the UPS store!  As I was recovering from my shock and disappointment, the clerk said, “If you’re a member of AAA, you can have a 5% discount.  Are you?”  I immediately responded, “Yes.”  She then completed tallying up my bill and then asked for my AAA card for verification.  This prompted my need for a second lie.  I mumbled something about not carrying the card with me and felt my face grow red.  She offered to let me come back with the card and I dug the hole even deeper.  She then added the discounted figure back into the cost and I went on my way.

Now I am not lying when I say that I do try, at every turn, to be totally honest.  I have had some “small” slips where I justified not going back into a store when I realized that something wasn’t charged correctly, and I am the first to try to get store clerks to go above and beyond a coupon saving if possible.  I’ve noticed myself becoming more lax, justifying myself for not doing the Abe Lincoln penny thing.  But this moral lapse was definitely a choice, made in an instant, to try to save exactly $4.35! 

I left the store, still burning in my own shame, and drove home.  I believed that the store clerk surely knew that I had lied to her, based on my behavior.  Had I gotten away with the lie, would I have been moved to make it right?  Probably not.  I would have gone on my way, happy to have “deserved” the discount since the price was so exorbitant anyway -- and wiped the transgression out of my memory.  In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, I think I might have gotten away with this AAA discount issue once before.   But the realization that I had lied for such a silly, pitiable reason, still brings me shame. 

In my defense, I now finish the story.  Within moments of leaving the store, the still small voice in my head said, “Terry, you have to make this right.  You have to apologize to the clerk.”  “NO, please don’t make me do that!”  “Yup, that’s what it will take.”  “NO, please, not that!”  "Yes, that is what it will take to get rid of my voice.”  I came home, picked up the phone and called the clerk, apologizing for my lie and asking her forgiveness.  Needless to say, she was quite shocked and told me what a wonderful person I was (wrong!) and was more than willing to let it go.  I hope that I can return to that store, forgiven, next time I have something to ship.   I told no one else of my indiscretion, too embarrassed to tell the story on myself.  I hope and pray that I can look in the mirror and see my “true self is emerging.”  (Pastor George)
So here I am.  With all my warts exposed, in need of forgiveness, wanting once again to be trusted with the very little, so that I can then be trusted with much. 
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.   Luke 16:10, New International Version

1 comment:

Julie said...

Terry, I so appreciated this post. Thank you for being transparent and "real". I know that I have been in that place before - and honestly - I am so THANKFUL for the voice. Grateful for forgiveness...