What Will Your Verdict Be?

A former bookkeeper who stole more than R1.2m from the Aurora Special Care Centre in Port Elizabeth was sentenced to an effective eight years behind bars on Wednesday. He was also ordered to repay the outstanding amount owed to Aurora–a total of R986,000 (he has since paid pack R225,000). In terms of a Section 300 order, his paycheck will be docked in the future … that is, once released from prison, should he find employment, he will be expected to repay Aurora on a monthly basis. The magistrate described this former bookkeeper’s actions as “horrible, reprehensible and appalling”, because he stole from the most vulnerable members of the community. Aurora Special Care Centre caters to special needs children and adults, some so physically disabled that they cannot talk or eat unaided.

I am certain this current affairs story reviles you. You almost want to get this person yourself and dish out some justice. It’s appalling that we experienced the 50 shades of State Capture and all the other wheeling and dealing in our economically battling country … and once again, we need to deal with criminals stealing from those who can’t help themselves. Maybe the magistrate ought to have charge him interest as well! And then, as our anger simmers down and we gaze at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word, we are struck by the thoughts, “got you … guilty as charged” because justice and fairness calls us to examine our own hearts as we condemn the guilty man who stole from Aurora Special Care Centre. Again we look into the mirror of God’s Word and pictures start to resonate, with each picture pointing a finger at the one looking into the mirror … me! Just as the Aurora thief tried to make excuses and cast blame onto others, so we want to do just that … and in our case, we are boxed in because the Judge is God and the Senior Counsel is the Advocate Jesus Christ, Lord, Saviour and King. The High Court Roll is read, our name is called and we stand in the dock to hear … amongst all the other crimes–sins–the endless list of what we stole throughout our lives upon this planet … and not only what we stole but from whom we stole these things! Then, we take a glimpse around and see the faces of the ones we disenfranchised … and it was so easy … because the sinful nature tends to be quite clever when it comes to hiding sin.

And so we stand in the dock at the Great High Court. The Judge is the Ancient of Days:

Dan 7:9 “As I looked,

‘thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.

His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool.

His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.

Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.

The court was seated, and the books were opened.'”

Then the Senior Counsel, Jesus Christ, Lord, Saviour and King appears to present His case … His appearance is staggering:

Rev 1:12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

That’s the picture that points at me … and now I consider the debt I owe to God, because everything I have ever stolen has been stolen from God.

Ps 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it …

Now, let’s be honest … there is simply no way I can remember everything I have stolen throughout my life span, but I do know that every rebellion, sin, wickedness and evil has been directed against God, because ultimately, He is the owner of everything and all theft is theft from God. But you might say: “I have never ever in my life stolen money or possessions from anyone”. Yet, at the work place … have you considered that photocopy, that pen or pencil you took home, or perhaps arriving late for work, extended lunch time, lack of productivity and leaving early? I recall someone asking another to call her employer saying she could not be at work that Saturday because she was ill … yet all she wanted was an extended weekend. Could it be that you used your tongue to damage a good name and tarnish a good character of someone? Maybe you gossiped, told a lie about someone or even called a person a fool or maybe an idiot … yet they, even the unsaved, are created in the image and likeness of God! Or is it possible that you used the eye and ear to steal intellectual capital or how often have you told ‘little white lies’ to protect yourself or someone else?

That Aurora thief was sent to jail for eight years, plus he needs to repay the balance of the amount stolen … R986,000. Yet, as you stand at that Great High Court before the Eternal Judge … that very Advocate who reads out the charge against you pleads for every born again soul, saying “Father, my blood cleansed this one of all sin … even every theft committed … Father, remember my cry.”

John 19:30 … Jesus said, “It is finished.” …

He says, “I have paid in full for their sin. It is finished! Tetelestai!” And as you hear ‘forgiven’, you hear “go sin, go steal no more.”

Dear God, I shiver and tremble when I consider my passed life. I was so sinful and so unworthy, but You came to me and lifted me out of the mud and mire and placed me on a solid Rock … the Lord Jesus. Now, I have the privilege of thanking You for You gracious mercy by living a life that pleasures You. To You be glory. Amen.

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