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February 2014: Proverbs 12 by Doug

I made a mistake last week. When I setup the bill payments for the first half of the month in our bank, I set one bill to pay from the wrong account. It was a careless error, but an honest one. I wasn’t trying to scam the bank for $385. Just a matter of clicking one thing too few.

Of course, given the banking system in America, the total fees and charges amounted to $58 for a simple mistake. I called the bank to see what could be done, and the very polite customer representative asked me a question. It was this: “How long have you been using online bill pay with us?”

Why did he need to know that? Because if it was a dumb, rookie mistake, he could refund my whole packet of charges. There was a decent chunk of money on the table when he asked me that question. My answer?

I’ve been using online bill pay with my bank for years. At least back to 2010, if not 2007 or 8. Maybe before. Ann and I have been early adopters for bank technology. We were depositing checks from home before anybody put it in a commercial. We’ve eliminated writing checks for almost everything, and done so for years. We burn old checkbooks and get new ones when we move—just recently realized we still had checks with our first Mississippi address on them.

Is it not better to have gotten my money back? The guy prompted me on the answer that would repay the cost of my stupidity. He told me what he needed to hear.

And then I could choose to feed him that story.

Instead, I paid $29 for being stupid and honest. Why?

Because lying lips are an abomination to God. And I’d rather lose money than offend a holy and righteous God. I would rather lose money than take the grace of God, the forgiveness of sins, and treat it lightly.

Sometimes, honesty costs us. In this case, honesty cost me because I had to admit my mistake. I had to confess to my failing, and pay the penalty for it. The bank graciously refunded the second charge on my account because I haven’t made that kind of mistake recently.

This is a micro scale illumination of Proverbs 12:22. Lying may bail us out of trouble in the short run, and may even profit for a time. But far better is the person who fears God, admits to their own errors and sins, and pays the honest price for it.

Of course, it would be better to make no mistakes at all…but that’s not me, is it?


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