A Test of Conscience

I was working at an after prom party last Saturday night/Sunday morning when I was tested. I was walking around the event site just checking things out. It was getting closer to the end of the night so things had slowed down. I was walking by the inflatable obstacle course we had setup. I noticed a cover had come loose and was all bunched up at the base of a climbing section. I reached over to straighten it out and out popped a crisp $20.00 bill. I quickly snatched it up and stuck it in my right pocket. I didn’t even finish straightening out the cover. I thought to myself, “$20, thats kind of a big deal”. I intended to keep it. Nobody saw me, it was kind of a secluded area of the gym so I knew nobody would question my find. I kept reasoning with myself. I told myself things like, “the kid who lost this will never miss it”, “how do you honestly find the owner of an unmarked $20 bill”. The entire time I just didn’t feel right. I started to feel physically ill. I walked around with it in my pocket for a while, waiting for the uneasiness to leave, but it never did. I started getting paranoid. What if they made an announcement that somebody lost a $20 bill? I couldn’t just stand there like nothing happened. I have major issues with lying, not meaning that I have issues because I lie a lot. I mean I hate it when people lie. I can’t lie even when it’s by omission. I can hardly lie when it’s for a joke! I knew if they made an announcement that somebody lost a $20 bill I would have to turn it in. Then how would I look? Would they wonder how long I had it? Would they wonder why I didn’t turn it in immediately? How would I explain to my wife why I had an extra $20? I could hide it from her but that wouldn’t make me feel any better. It felt as if all of these things were eating me from the inside out!

I did the only thing I could do. I walked up to the registration table and gave it to one of the ladies in charge, and told her where I found it. The lady I turned it into thanked me multiple times as I passed by her throughout the night. The funny thing is, that didn’t bring immediate relief. Now I was dealing with feeling ashamed of even considering keeping it. So I prayed while I was walking around and finally felt that release, that forgiveness. It is out of character for me to even ponder doing the wrong thing.

You may be reading this and thinking, what is the big deal? Somebody lost money, you found it; happens all the time. Under other circumstances it might have been ok to keep it (finding a $20 in the gutter), but under these circumstances it wasn’t right, and for whatever reason my conscience (spirit) let me know.

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