“Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead. Proverbs 9:16-19
There’s a great debate raging in the United States today about achieving equity through stealing. Where I live, a law was changed so that if you steal less than $950 and are caught you might receive a small fine. As a result of this change, reported (much goes unreported) larceny as has gone up 3% in just one year. Property crime has increased in 24 counties throughout the state. Stores are closing in areas where shoplifting has skyrocketed. As one woman put it in an interview, “If I need diapers or formula who is going to get it for me? They aren’t out there arresting people for shoplifting and everyone knows it.”
Now this post isn’t a spotlight on political missteps or any particular point of view. But there are consequences when we choose to live and make decisions outside God’s plan for us. And one of the oft repeated admonitions in Proverbs is about laziness or taking the easy way out. Some argue that being against allowing people to steal for what they call “basic needs” is racist or discriminatory. But what really is at work in this particular issue is people who are not in need, such as politicians and activists, taking the easy path. “Well, if we just let people steal without punishment that solves the problem, right?”
There are free needle exchange programs, safe drug taking areas, laws removed to allow for sleeping on the streets, money thrown at problems, etc. None of these choices make us step back and take the harder, more intricate path. Some would say they exacerbate the very issues we are trying to resolve. As Christians we should be convicted to be more thoughtful and loving and wise. To have the desire to help God’s fellow sheep be lifted from sin and despair.
My favorite reality contest show was Biggest Loser. Not only was the goal to lose weight but the show counseled participants on the root of their weight issues. Many discovered their pain from abuse or loss triggered their unhealthy eating habits. Without resolution of that pain, they were sure to continue on their destructive, “easier” paths.
Friend, if in your own life you seek bandaids rather than true healing, if you try to avoid doing things the right way because it just seems easier, God is calling you to wisdom. Stolen water is sweet but the dead live in that realm. He is calling you to life and true joy.
Father, at times it seems simpler and less painful to take the easy path. Please guide me to making better choices that effect both my own life and the world around me. Amen