Wednesday, June 20

The Etiquette of Borrowing

May I share a quote that befits the topic of borrowing something from someone else?

Remember, people will judge you by your actions not your intentions. “You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg.”

Character stands on stilts when we keep our word.

My father reminded me of this principle often until it became a way of life for me. 

If I were to borrow a book from someone, then I must treat another's possession with the same dignity and respect I show toward someone I hold in the highest esteem - myself.

“Be known as a respecter of persons and property, Deborah,” Father would say.

One day, a young graduate asked me to look over their work and a draft of their very first book ever authored. This prized possession became the object of my care, respect, and timely return. It was precious to Miss _____.

On opposite sides of the world, a wealthy lady asked me for an opinion on an authentic family heirloom penned by a great, great, great grandmother and scholar, Lady ________. This prized possession became the object of my care, respect, and timely return. It was precious to Lady _____.

For Miss _____, and Lady _____, their possessions were of equal value. This validated the care and respect I imparted in equal portion. 

The heart of any issue is an issue of the heart. Nothing happens by chance. We are the sum total of our actions, which are a reflection of our character and substance. Possessions are attached to the heart of each individual - some more, some less. Nonetheless, it is a heart issue.

Regardless of the value, taking something that does not belong to you and then not returning it, is theft. Furthermore, when we need or want something from others, we are at their mercy.

Most recently, this scenario has personally affected me. The object was something other than a book. Without going into detail, how this person made me feel and perhaps how others feel when mistreated, was disrespected and defrauded.

Because there is a cause and effect with all our actions, over time, like invisible signage, in large bold lettering, their label reads - indiscretion and insincerity.

Now the moral to the story is, "If you want to live comfortably and honestly in this world, then DO RIGHT!

A Lending Tip:

I have a sticky note with my name, address, phone number, and a space for a date. This glides into the front cover of each book as a reminder of when I loaned the book. Accountability polishes our character and is a reminder that we have a responsibility in this life to treat others with courteousness and decency.

My father had another statement that I would hear often, "Use common courtesy and common decency, Deborah."

Daddy, I live to remind you that common is not so common anymore.

We are going to be treated badly in this life. There is not one person that can say, "I have never done the wrong thing by anyone." We are all guilty of indiscretion. The bad that happens in life is our classroom.

Get wise about the little things in life. Wisdom, is transferring what you have learned and lived by setting an example, onto others. Do not be afraid to push others up the hill toward victory and success. Who stands beside them on the peak?

Luke 16:12  says, "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

As stewards on this earth, we are entrusted with possessions and we earn trust with other's possessions. We are all liable to the same charge; we have not made due improvement of what God has trusted us with. Are you trustworthy? Can your friends rely on your word? Do you return what you borrow from them in a timely manner?

Little things matter in life. What may be little to you is huge to another. Collectively, it is the way we handle the small, discreet affairs of our life that affirm to others our honesty and integrity. In not returning what we borrow from others in a timely manner, we demonstrate a disrespect and a lack of integrity on our part. Yes, little things do matter. Why would God entrust us with the bigger things if we cannot take care of the little things?

A further tip for organizing the return of books or other items that belong to someone else, is in planning a return date. This will prepare you to schedule it on your calendar or in your planner. Set yourself a reminder.

In finishing, may I remind you that the riches that make up our possessions of this world are deceitful and uncertain. Let us be convinced that those who are truly very rich are those who are rich in faith and rich toward God, rich in Christ and in His promises; let us then lay up our treasure in Heaven and expect our portion from thence.

It is never too late to correct our ways. If you are in possession of someone else's possessions and time has lapsed, do right and return what is rightfully theirs. Perhaps today is a good opportunity to clear your closets.

I love you,


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