Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: HONEST (05/31/18)
TITLE: Behind the Hedge
By Janene Bever
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“Nick, you know that would be cheating and I want no part of it” answered Sarah In a politely offended tone.
“Ah come on miss goody, good, shot back Nick. It’s not like I’ve ever asked you before”, he pleaded.
“Nope, not gonna do it. Not tonight, not ever. It’s your homework, take responsibility” counseled Sarah wisely.
I recognized the names and voices of the two teenagers who lived right behind my house. I wasn’t eavesdropping, just lounging on my patio, enjoying my Spring blooms while hidden by a hedge lined fence.
I was proud of Sarah, happy to hear that a young person today had the integrity to stand up for principle and do the right thing. I had been brooding a lot lately about the lack of truthfulness and sincerity in our society and government. It seemed to be the norm anymore to say one thing and do another, to cheat and lie as long as it was to a persons’ advantage. Even advertisers blatantly promised benefits they knew full well they could never deliver. What had happened? Had people always been this way but was it becoming more noticeable with the advent of electronically transmitted communication? It seemed sadly that this was true when I remembered a Bible verse I had read that had been penned hundreds of years ago. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” was written in Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV). That should tell us something about our motives shouldn’t it?
My mind flipped back to Sarah who had stood up for what she believed to be right and I was still impressed that she was at least trying to do the right thing. Atta girl, I thought, God is surely pleased with you.
A few weeks later, once again admiring my Begonias, Sweet Peas, Coleus and a few experimental succulents I had decided to introduce to my garden, I overheard another conversation through my camouflaged wall. This time it was Sarah with an unfamiliar female voice. Parents obviously not home from work yet, the girls were scheming about how they were going to tell Sarah’s mom and dad that they were going to the library to study when they were really meeting a couple of boys who were picking them up at another girls house.
Now I’m deflated. Where was my noble Sarah who stood up for truth? As I process the two conversations, one with Nick and this one with a female friend, I have to conclude that the first one was an easy no for her. It wasn’t in her best interest. Now it was about something she wanted to do for herself so the lie came all too easy. I’m really let down.
I pride myself about being honest. It’s an important quality to have and to discover in other people. I silently pat myself on my imaginary back, remembering the times I’ve returned some undeserved change at the grocery store, how I’ve taken back items into the store that I didn’t get charged for.
Enjoying my saintly self-compliments, suddenly another unwanted memory intrudes. I’m remembering the time when I told a friend that I couldn’t go out to a certain event because I wasn’t feeling well when really I just didn’t want to go. I try but fail to resist another recollection of a time when I knowingly withheld some money I’d received that didn’t get reported on my taxes. Small things I tell myself. Yet, not a perfect 10 on the truth-o-meter. I guess I need to keep this in perspective whenever I get up on my horse of self-righteous indignation about some real or perceived rule bending by someone else.
My sins may be “small” in my eyes but to God a sin is a sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 (ESV)
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