I can hear the rationalizations now:
“Come on! When all that money is just laying around, you can’t expect people to not take some.”
“It’s a Brinks truck! I think they’ll be fine.”
“If they didn’t want to lose the money, they should have locked their door!”
I guess it’s pretty much what people assume and accept about human nature: You make it this easy for someone to grab a wad of cash and disappear with it, they’re going to do it.
And who could blame them?
I guess that’s why so many people think this is perfectly acceptable behavior:
But in reality, none of these rationales hold water. Exodus 20:15 should begin and end the argument, but let’s go ahead and augment that a little.
First, the cash in a brinks truck is going to a financial institution that is required – both by good basic business practices and by federal regulations – to account for every penny in its coffers. When a bunch of its money gets stolen, the bank officials don’t just shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh well! There’s lots more where that came from!” They have to go through a fairly arduous process to account for the lost cash.
Second, the money on deposit with a bank belongs to the depositors. If a bank loses its money, that means you’re out your money too. Bank accounts are ensured up to $100,000 by the FDIC, and that’s funded both by bank-paid premiums and by taxpayers, which means that either way, when a bank suffers theft, you’re going to pay the price for it.
Third, if you are one of the people who’s decided to dash across the highway to grab some of the loose money, you’re interfering with a police-managed emergency scene and very likely jeopardizing the safety of yourself, the officers and others present.
Fourth, the money doesn’t belong to you. You didn’t earn it, you have no claim on it and you have no business taking it. If you’re hard up for cash, there are plenty of public and private organizations ready and willing to help if you go through the proper process. You have no excuse for grabbing cash that you know belongs to someone else.
The right/wrong formula here is no different from the situation where you see someone drop a $5 bill in the grocery store. What do you do? Grab it and pocket it? Or pick it up, tap him on the shoulder and give it back to him? There is not even a debate to be had about what the right thing to do is. You know that.
The person who wants to excuse this on the idea that human nature simply can’t be expected to pass up such an opportunity is not expecting very much of his fellow man. If we aren’t going to respect the property of others as long as it’s easy and lucrative not to, then we don’t really believe that right and wrong are ideas that mean anything.
And when you think about it, an awful lot of the problems we face as a society can be traced back to that.
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Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)
Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)