Monday, January 6, 2014

The Mailbox Vandals

Sometime last night the mailbox vandals visited my home. This is not the first time, but it is the first time at our new home. I will bet money that the perpetrators were two to four unmarried white males between the ages of 16-22 riding in a single vehicle. If the artist didn’t create an accurate rendering of these vandals, he certainly captured their essence. Fortunately, a hammer, a pair of vicegrips, a screwdriver, and a half hour of muttered curses in the cold early morning twilight solved the problem. Ah, just one of the joys of life in the suburbs. Although in Maryland, like baseball, mailbox vandalism was a summer pastime.

My poor neighbor lived with three teenaged daughters at the same time! The depravations suffered by his poor mailboxes over that ten year period are too numerous and horrifying to recount.

So why am I wasting your time with a meditation on young men and mailboxes? It has to do with giving and receiving. We live in a cause and effect universe. As Jesus observed, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

Here are a few more about sowing and reaping.

Galatians 6:7 - Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

2 Corinthians 9:6 - But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

Job 4:8 - Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

As you walk this lonesome valley, try to be a blessing. As the bumper sticker exhorts the reader, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” There is enough mourning and weeping in this vail of tears without adding any sorrows or aggravations to that total.

There is a darker side to all this than the somewhat understandable foolishness of young men. When my mother in law was dying, we believe that at least one of her home health aides stole some of her clothing and perhaps some other items. We caught one of her home health aides using my mother in law’s credit card for her own shopping. That is felony theft. If she hadn’t got greedy with the approach of Christmas we probably never would have detected her crimes. Once my wife and I analyzed my mother in law’s credit card record in detail it was apparent that the aide had stolen over $600. The home health care agency matched the questionable purchases against their employees’ schedules. It was a perfect match, although the company estimated the amount of the thefts in excess of $800. They promptly refunded that amount of money. They fired the woman in question, promising to prosecute her to the full extend of the law.

God does provide some specific warnings about messing with widows in addition to the general principles enumerated earlier in this article.

Psalms 68:5 - A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, God in his holy habitation.

Deuteronomy 27:19 - Cursed [be] he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Malachi 3:5 - And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right], and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

Jeremiah 49:11 - Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.

Why would that woman do something that was going to put her square in God’s gun sights? Even if she did not go to jail, a lousy $600-$900 worth of merchandise stolen from a helpless old widow ruined her life.

There are many such warnings found in Scripture. They are put there for my benefit. Perhaps as I interact with others I would do well to remember that there is a God in heaven. Fortunately there is hope.

2 Peter 3:9

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

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