Last night I went to the grocery store with my family. It can be a little crazy with all five of us, but it’s nice every now and then to go together and get out of the house. (Can anyone say: “One car family”?)
As we gathered the last items, my youngest pipes up and says, “I wish we didn’t have to pay for these things. Why do we have to pay?”
I said, “All the food you see in here had to be picked, made, packaged, and shipped and brought to the store. So when we pay for our food, we are paying the farmers and all the other workers.”
When we began checking out, the cashier said something to me that didn’t quite register, and it took me a moment to process what she was saying. She was telling me that she was charging me for the less expensive green bell peppers, instead of the price for colored bell peppers. I stood there, and tried to absorb her words.
My internal voice spoke to me, That’s stealing. Get her to change it to the right price. I stood there as she continued ringing up new items, my bell peppers already bagged. I knew I had a choice to make, and I kept getting more and more uncomfortable.
So I listened to my internal voice and I grabbed the bag of bell peppers and said, “I know this may sound strange, but could you please ring these up at the regular price?”
After we made it home and sat down to eat our dinner, I told my family what had happened. I told my children that to allow someone to change the price of an item is wrong, and it is stealing. My daughter replied and said, “She is going to be judged for that.” And I said, “Not to the extent that she would have, had I not covered for her mistake.”
As James says,
…whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17)
Standing by and allowing her to change the price of something, even something as small as bell peppers, was a sin. When other people do something wrong, whether they mean to or not, and we stand up for what is right, we do a correction not only for ourselves, but also for them. It is an act of love; we are covering their nakedness–their sin.
I do not know the state of her heart, whether she knows the Creator of the Universe, but I know that that encounter last night was for me to understand on a deeper level the importance of covering others, just as Shem and Japheth covered their father, Noah, and just as my Savior covered me.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Messiah died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Messiah died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:31)
Many blessings and Shalom,