To continue concerning how stealing and its effects are more than just physical imagine what it is like to steal something. Ok, so the pens you steal from work are probably not going to get you all excited, especially if you do not think of it as stealing to begin with but look at the iPad that old lady put down in the seat next to her and seems to have forgotten. I mean, hey she is just asking for it to be stolen, right? (Swiper no swiping) What does she need an iPad for anyway, right? Your adrenaline is pumping and your heart is racing as you sit down in the empty seat next to her iPad and deftly put your bag on top of it. She looks up and smiles warmly at you (hnng!). That pang you just felt was guilt wrapping its fingers around your heart but man, you really want that iPad (5 finger discount) so you push that feeling aside and silence all the “this is wrong” warning bells in your head and smile back as genuinely as you can (you look like a creeper by the way). As grannie X reads the newspaper, you maneuver the iPad from under your bag and position it behind your back. It is uncomfortable but you can bear a little pain for the electronic gain. Grannie X looks at her watch and starts gathering her things in an effort to leave. You start sweating nervously as you notice her frantically searching for something.
“Excuse me, have you seen an iPad lying nearby?”
You know exactly what she is looking for but you squeak out a “no ma’am” almost choking on the words you have forced out of your suddenly very dry throat.
“Could you lift your bag please?”
Confidently you lift your bag out of the chair, knowing that the iPad is tucked behind you and out of sight.
“Oh no! I was certain I had left it there.”
You suggest she retrace her steps. Grannie X thanks you for your help before scurrying off to hunt for her iPad, which was a gift from her only grandchild who lives on the other side of the country and wanted to Skype so they could see each other more. You breathe a sigh of relief, slide the iPad into your bag and stroll off. Little did you know that someone saw you and flagged down a cop while their friend went to find grannie X. Next thing you know, you hear a shriek and turn around to see grannie X pointing at you and the cop next to her staring straight into your eyes. You do not remember running but suddenly you are tasting paint as the cop pins you to a wall and gives you a pair of shiny new locking bracelets. You look up to see some twelve-year-old kid recording the whole thing with their phone and feel instant fear and humiliation as you hear,
“This is definitely going on Youtube”.
The iPad is returned to grannie X and she does not want to press charges but the disappointment in her eyes and the realization that you made her feel stupid for having faith in humanity in this day and age feels like punishment enough. When you go in to work Monday, happy to put that whole fiasco behind you, you notice that everyone stops talking and avoids eye contact every time you enter the room (and no, it’s not a case of the Mondays). Everyone’s lunches in the fridge are passive aggressively labeled with a name and seat number. The boss says,
“We need to talk”.
Both of you head towards the conference room (maybe you are finally getting that promotion…not)
“Do you know anything about this Youtube video that has been circulating?”
Before you can finish saying, “No… I don’t know what you are talking about”, the boss pulls it up on the screen and presses play. You do not need to see the video; it is obviously you stealing the iPad from sweet little grannie X so you skim the comments.
“Just think, this jerk probably started out stealing pens from the office.”
…and your boss gives the final blow…
“Clear out your cubicle, you are fired!”
So now you have stolen, lied and caused grannie X to lose faith in humanity. Even though you were not booked and have no criminal record those that know about the incident will always regard you as a criminal. You have lost whatever good reputation you had, are now unemployed and have no job prospects because news spreads fast in your town and everyone who saw that video now knows you are a thief. The friends you have managed to retain and the family members who still talk to you will warily follow you from room to room, keep all their valuables jammed in their pockets or purses whenever you are around and always suggest you all go out rather than let you hang out at their houses.
Look, I am not saying that if you take pens home from the office you are eventually going to steal bigger and better things buuut…it is a slippery slope. Despite all the explication, it really comes down to one question, “Is what I am doing, pleasing God?” if the answer is “no” then I know I have some changes to make and knowing is half the battle.