Recently, I was amused and bemused by the report of a stunt that I never would have considered as a way to get out of paying for a sandwich. According to WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh, after finishing one of Primanti Brothers’ fantastic sandwiches (full disclosure – I love a good sandwich from these guys) a patron had to deal with the reality that he did not have the ability to pay for his meal. An unfortunate but not unheard of dilemma, this diner chose a most noteworthy way to try and stiff our friends at Primanti’s – according to the suspect his friend convinced him that a way to get out of paying was to call in a bomb threat to a restaurant down the street. This was AFTER he tried to bolt the place once and was dragged back in by a couple of other customers.

Needless to say, the suspect is now facing charges including: threats to use weapons of mass destruction, public drunkenness, false identification to police, terroristic threats and escape. Talk about an expensive lunch!

Along with having a craving for a great sandwich from one of my favorite sandwich shops, this story got me thinking a little about the natural tendency in all of us from time to time to do whatever we can to avoid the consequences of having to own a poor decision we have made. It also got me thinking about how much we try to use the advice of others as a cover for our own failures. For, you see, while we all may not go to the extreme of calling in a bomb threat to a neighboring restaurant as a way to get out of paying for a sandwich at lunch (did I mention the article also noted that someone else offered to pay for the sandwich in question?), there are times where we might be tempted (if not actually implement) an idea that we think will allow us to escape responsibility for our own actions. Also, stories like this, along with considering others we know who we think are trying to escape responsibility, may give us a little false hope that we are not as bad as we might think since we don’t engage bomb squads to get us out of a sticky wicket.

Two things we might want to consider when pondering stories like this:

  1. Before we give someone else a hard time or look down upon them for an indefensible decision they made, let’s be darn sure to do some self-aware self-examination of our own lot in life; and,

  2. Let us never forget we worship a God of grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption, who calls us to accountability but also encourages us to move forward from the past and into a future filled with divine glory and love each and every day.

Adam and Eve, we read in Genesis, tried to cover themselves with a fig leaf to mask their failure. It may not be the bomb squad, but the concept of wanting to avoid the consequences of a poor decision is still the same. Instead of running away, let’s instead run into the arms of one who loves us, forgives us, and also reminds us to, “Go forth and sin no more.”

Grace and Peace, Lamar

From what do you need to stop running in order to set things right and move forward in a more productive manner?