A few months ago I was shopping at Wal-Mart and had a cart full of groceries as well as three children in tow. (Yes, shopping with three children is a chaotic adventure that is another post in and of itself.) Before paying I handed the cashier two coupons I wanted to use. They were two of the same coupon. Low and behold they wouldn't scan. They were ones I had printed off line and I often seem to have trouble with those type. Usually stores will just type them in manually and move on.
But not this time. This time the cashier called over her manager who came in a huff, irritated to be bothered. She glanced at the coupons for a few seconds and then said, "These won't work. You copied them." I copied them? It took me a while to register what she meant and by that time I just mumbled something, asked the cashier to remove the items and got my antsy kids out of there as fast as I could. But later her accusations really started to bother me.
I copied them? Doesn't that lady know that you can print two of the same coupon from each computer and that just because I had two identical coupons it didn't mean I copied them? (I went home later that day and saw that each of the coupons had a different bar-code printed on them. Wish I would have noticed that in the store!) I have been couponing for almost 10 years. I am not an extreme couponer by ANY means. I mean, that day at Wal-Mart I had a cart packed full of groceries and only had 2 coupons. I do enjoy combining coupons with weekly sales and getting good deals but I don't stress out about using one on everything I buy. But hear me say this: Never in almost 10 years of couponing have I EVER copied a coupon! It's illegal!!
The more I thought about the manager's words, the more insulted I felt. I had done nothing wrong, I had simply tried to use coupons that I had legitimately printed off my computer yet I was so upset that she would accuse me of such a thing. Then I thought about this... Sure I've never copied a coupon, but what other tiny little sinful actions have I done? Actions that hide under the guise of an "innocent half-truth" or a "little white lie" when in reality they are just plain sin? Integrity is a character trait that I so badly want to uphold in my life and yet in my humanness I fail more often than I'd like. The world's version of honesty and integrity is far removed from God's and we need to make sure we are constantly aligning our thoughts with God's and upholding His standards (not the world's)! From coupons to completing our taxes and everything in between we need to live a life of honesty. It's not always easy to do and sometimes it seems like we could get ahead if we didn't hold such high standards. But it doesn't work. God does not honor deceit.
Copying a coupon is not the end of the world. Trust me, I know there are much bigger issues at hand in the world today. But what those coupons helped me remember is that God desires integrity from us even in the smallest details of our lives. As Christians, we should live lives that point non-believers to the Lord by our actions. Let's rise up and be different than the rest of the world. Let's be a reflection of Christ in our high standards, integrity, and honesty. It starts with the little things...like coupons.