Not a dime's worth of difference?
Now that we've heard Cousin Bill recount the story of his personal re-enactment of original sin, his own fall from the paradise of youthful innocence, Uncle Cran has also come forth to confess his even worse sin. Worse than killing chickens, worse than Cousin Bill's murder of innocent pullets? Yes, worse. Much worse, for Uncle Cran's sin involved the lust for money, which is the root of all evil -- as confirmed by Holy Writ (1 Timothy 6:10).
Worst of all was the mere pittance for which Uncle Cran sold his birthright of innocence, but you be the judge:
I also had a mis-deed in my sordid past that has been mostly hidden until now.Note that Uncle Cran admits to a sordid past, which sounds like more than money to me! That lust for filthy lucre must have led him to a life that he has come to abhor, whether he has entirely escaped it or not. Let's us see:
When brother Jarrell came home from the military, he has a disconcerting habit of laying his loose change on his dresser. That was a terrible temptation for me and brother Bradley. It was actually less troubling for Brad, and he didn't mind helping himself occasionally. But I fought it for days . . . until one day greed overcame conscience, and . . . to my everlasting shame, TOOK A DIME! I think I got a can of pop and an ice cream cone. But for days I couldn't look Jarrell in the face, as I knew my crime would be printed on my forehead for him to read.Note how Uncle Cran still trys to shuck off some of the blame by suggesting that Bradley stole more, yet suffered no pangs of regret. Perhaps Uncle Cran is still clinging to a righteousness of works, like that pharisee who compared himself to the tax collector and informed God, "At least I didn't take as much money as that publican over there!" (Luke 18:10-11).
But let's take a gander at this dime that Uncle Cran stole:
Hmmm . . . looks like what we used to call a Mercury Head dime (though it's actually a Liberty Head). Lovely coin. I can understand the appeal, but I still stand appalled.
Anyway, as time passed and Uncle Cran's guilt increased like compound interest, he came to feel the heavy debt of his sins and desired to balance the books so that he would not be found wanting when weighed in the scales of righteousness . . . but his spiritual thinking was still limited to a works-of-righteousness view:
Over the years I was unable to overcome my guilt, so a few years ago I happened to travel through Kansas City on my way to take a plane to Washington, DC to visit son James and family. Returning to KC, and on my way home, I decided to clear my conscience. Stopping by to visit, I confessed my crime, pulled out a dime, and placed it on the table between my brother and I.Uncle Jarrell was absolutely right to reject the coin that Uncle Cran offered. It wasn't the same dime. Just look:
Jarrell picked up the dime, turned it over and over in his hand . . . then returned it to me. Sorrifully, he said, "Cran, that's not the same dime."
Corene spoke up and suggested I return it with interest due over the past 40 plus years, but we ignored her. Compound interest would have been just too much.
I cannnot believe that Uncle Cran actually tried to foist this Roosevelt dime off on Uncle Jarrell! The nerve of that man!
But even if Uncle Jarrell had been willing to accept repayment in this false coin, I have to side with Aunt Corene and insist that Uncle Cran hand over the compound interest as well. If a poor sinner wants to balance the sheets of his debt by repaying what he owes, then he must make a full accounting, else he merely deepens his sin.
Uncle Cran may believe that there's not even a dime's worth of difference between his offer and what he should have have offered, but there's really the difference between diamonds and dust.