I have a friend who owns a large chain of restaurants on the east coast. Recently, he discovered that one of his store managers had been stealing from the cash registers. And apparently, this had been happening for a long time.
After going through store records and monitoring the surveillance cameras, my friend noticed that the amount of money this store manager had been stealing steadily increased over time. And because nobody noticed and said anything, the manager became increasingly daring and bold. At first, he took one hundred dollars, then three hundred, then five hundred — until he pocketed thousands at a time. Yet, truth always rises with time. Once a crook feels secure in his stealing, he not only aims higher for larger scores, he also starts to get recklessly sloppy. This is how corruption works.
When the police were finally called and shown the videos of the manager stealing, they confronted him on the job. And even after revealing all the evidence against him, he denied everything. Then they searched him and found thousands of dollars stashed in his pockets that he had just freshly pulled from the store’s safe that day.
The purpose of this short story is to show what happens when we do not immediately confront people who are doing something wrong. They typically start small to see what they can get away with, and when they are sure that nobody is paying attention, they go for larger prizes and take greater risks. Even if a child is reprimanded for stealing cookies from the cookie jar, if the punishment is a simple slap on the wrist, they will continue stealing so long as they see the prize to be greater than the penalty.
When we remain silent in the face of corruption, we are giving our consent to a devil’s intent. We are giving evildoers permission to keep committing crimes — and to steadily increase the size and intensity of their criminal acts. This is why it is very important to speak up immediately against those who do wrong. The price for standing up for Truth, no matter how severe, will always be less than the price our souls will be penalized for not speaking up for our conscience. There is no greater crime in the universe than silencing your conscience.
I am almost sure, that the store manager in the above example revealed his deceit to at least one co-worker. And that co-worker either received a share of the loot — or remained silent in fear of losing their job. Believe it or not, the second is a greater offense than the first. The first will be punished by the law of the land and divine law, but the second will receive at least double the weight of the punishment by divine judgement — for failing to use the truth in their hearts to cast light on the wrong. Stealing material wealth is one thing, but choosing the security of your well-being over the Truth is the same as committing murder.
Most of the time, the cost of sharing or standing up for Truth is greater than the price of Freedom. And most of the time, standing up for Truth is a solitary act, while fighting for freedom is done with a crowd. You may ask, isn’t fighting for Truth and freedom the same thing? No. Even though both are our natural birthrights, one is a daily struggle, while the other is a major event or a series of calculated one-offs that could be an individual fight or include a specific segment of people. When you share truths, depending on their severity and cost to the accuser, there will be consequences. You could be attacked or bullied to stay silent. You may be punished in a thousand different ways. You may lose your job, reputation, friends, co-workers, affiliations, and even your mind — but this is to be expected. Just like freedom, Truth is not cheap. Yet both are worth more than all the gold in the world. But what is freedom, if there is no truth. And what is truth, if there is no freedom? Both are worth fighting for; for one alone is only a glass half-filled without the other. If you do not fight for Truth, you become part of the reason why the world is loaded with so many problems — that will only continue to grow. If you do not fight for freedom for all of mankind, all of mankind will be void of Truth. This is the delicate irony. Everything is connected. Every immoral act is connected to the greater evil, and every oppressed nation is being chained by the majority that do not act to free them.
THE CORRECT MEANING OF THE WORD ‘MEEK’In addendum to the above, I would like to share some words from years ago on the word ‘MEEK’.
One word that has been poorly defined by dictionaries and priests is the word ‘meek’. The word has been defined in several ways: righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering, long suffering willing to follow gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple. This is not completely true. There is a secret a person with great knowledge discovers along the path to truth. That is, the more doors you open to the mysteries, or sacred knowledge, the smaller you feel. And because you begin to feel smaller and smaller until your ego disappears, the more humble you become. Therefore, any man who behaves arrogantly with what little he knows, or claims to know all, only reveals to all that he really knows nothing. Real greatness does not reside inside those who feel large. The truly wise are meek. Yet being small and meek do not make one weak. Arming oneself with true knowledge generates strong confidence and a bold spirit that makes you a lion of God. The Creator does not want you to suffer, yet we are being conditioned by society to accept suffering, weak and passive dispositions under the belief that such conditions are favorable by God. Weakness is not a virtue praised by God. How could he desire for you to be weak if he tells us to stand by our conscience? Doing so requires strength. However, there is a difference between arrogance when inflating your ego, and confidence when one truly gets closer to God. One feels large, while the other feels small. Why? Because a man of wisdom understands that he is just a small pea in a sea of infinite atoms, and that in the end — we are all connected. And did you not know that the smaller a creature is, the bolder its spirit?