Archive for December, 2010

The other day I witnessed a women being escorted back into the store that she had just stole from. She had a shopping cart full of merchandise (food and other items) with an expression full of fear, embarrassment, and what I perceived as shame. I could hear people all around talking about what had just transpired, as the security guard made no secret of what she had done.  In all the murmuring from the crowd one woman boasted that she could tell by just looking at this woman she was a thief, and how she had told her boss to watch “this one”. Then I heard one man speak up on his hurt and disbelief of a society that is happy to condemn and arrest her instead of helping her. He viewed her as a fellow human trying to survive and being in need of help, and had he known he would have paid for her groceries. His outburst of care for this woman gave me reason to pause and evaluate my judgment.  Now I’m not going to say he’s right or wrong in his opinion, or that I saw some of the items in her cart and they were or were not the items of someone just trying to survive, nor am I going to say she doesn’t need to pay the consequence of her actions. But rather he did give me a lesson in casting judgment without knowing everything involved.

These times we are in are tough, and from what a good friend tells me they are only going to get harder. Plus this time of year can be very difficult and sad for some people.  I found this incident and his response to be quite thought-provoking. Tugging at the parts of me that want to be compassionate, caring and helpful; and on the other side, knowing that we can’t go around stealing and not living by the rules of our society and even morality. 

I feel this blog is left hanging, not complete. But I find it difficult to “wrap this up”. Judgement is a very heavy responsibility, and one I try not to do flippantly. I do believe that  if this woman had verbally asked for help someone would have helped. I do believe that we are a society that will not turn our backs on our fellow neighbor. I also know  this whole thing is very sad, and my prayers are with her – however they be best utilized.


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