Meridian Star

December 15, 2012

From the Shepherd’s heart

By Dr. John A. Temple / Guest columnist

MERIDIAN —     "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." — Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)

   This week, a local leader in our city suggested the cure to the crime problem in our city is for local businessmen to hire those who have misdemeanor crimes on their record. The inference I received was that we should ignore the character of the person and their conduct and bring them into a place of business.

    I will admit that I am an advocate of a second chance. After all that is what grace is about. However, the biblical concept of grace requires a change of character too.

    A frequent discussion with local businessmen is about "employee theft." Employees, void of integrity, see nothing wrong with taking that which is not theirs, cheat on time sheets and cause social problems in the work place.

    Local businesses have increased liabilities and a greater chance of legal problems because of misconduct of employees who represent them. It costs for a business to have unethical employees.

    I have another suggestion for crime in our community. Let's teach, "You reap what you sow." That is a biblical concept too! We need to communicate that those who respect others and have integrity of character are those that get jobs. They are not only hired, but they are promoted over those that don't have integrity. Honesty, politeness, courtesy, cooperation and responsibility put you on the hiring list quicker than a "rap sheet."

    Let's teach that if you want a job in the business, show yourself mature enough to have the responsibility. Pull the pants up. Shave. Do community service. Help others. Love your neighbor as yourself. Learn to say, "Yes sir" and Yes ma'am."

    If you are hired, be on time and stay until the boss says you can go. Be enthusiastic and diligent. Go the second mile. Be encouraging and friendly.

    Instead of blaming life for our circumstances, make a new life based on a positive character that has been respected and hired since the founding of our country. It is time we realize we are reaping what we sow.

    Finally, if someone sincerely wants to change, let's encourage them. I am willing to give someone a chance if they want to improve. I don't need another problem. Jesus is the one that makes that change of character possible. He is ready to help when we are ready to see a new day and know He is the way it dawns.

    Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www.