Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Is it Write to Name Names

In my recent blog post titled Stealing is Evil:  Vomit from the Heart I named names.  Zena Fritz and Michael McQuade stole a laptop computer from me while I was working.  The laptop was given to me by my father a little over a year ago.  I liked it.  I used it a lot.

Some friends have suggested that it is not prudent for me to name the thieves in my writing.  They've also counseled me to extend mercy.  The easiest thing for me to do would be to forget this whole incident now.  I've replaced the laptop in the performance of my daily tasks.  And I've never been drawn to conflict like some of the best men I know.  I'm a coward compared to my heroes.  Extending mercy and leaving this whole matter with law enforcement, the welfare system and the courts to figure out would be so easy.

I'm choosing the narrow path instead of the broad one with respect to my personality.

In the days following the theft I was reluctant to tell people that Fritz and McQuade stole my property.  As I pondered the theft I became more and more convinced that I have a duty to name them.  Public accountability is the best gift I can give Fritz and McQuade.  I'm not a judge, lawyer or jailer.  I'm the victim.

If I were not certain that they stole it I would not name them.  There was a question in my mind about their culpability until the man I was training filed an affidavit with the police as part of the investigation.  He swore that the laptop was in the seat back pocket just before Fritz and McQuade entered the van.  It was gone when they left the van.

The facts, along with Fritz's exaggerated denunciations and loud claims of innocence tell the story.

They must be named because the only way out of this for them before an always-watching God is repentance and restitution before they die.  I don't want this incident held up to them on judgment day.  I want it to be washed in the blood, forgiven forever -- cast as far away as east is from west.

I am praying that this blog contains a post someday that narrates their repentance and restitution.  That is what is best for them.  I am not thinking about myself in this.  I am praying for them.

The worst thing that I can do for them is fail in my duty to hold them accountable.  They stole my property.  They didn't steal the property of the police or the court or the government.

Prudence dictates that I do this lawfully.  It is not unlawful for me to name thieves of my property if the facts support my claim.  If I weren't certain then it might be wrong to name them.

I write this not as a lawyer trained in the rules and laws of confidentiality, blogging, the internet etc.  If I am wrong in my reasoning here I am eager to learn the truth of the matter.

As to the extension of mercy I am eager to extend it to Fritz and McQuade based on my judgment regarding the quality and sincerity of their repentance.  Justice would require that they at least repay me for the value of the stolen property, if they cannot return the property because they no longer have it in their possession.  A decision to extend mercy might lead me to give them the laptop.  I am not, however, concluding that the specific conditions surrounding this theft would recommend the extension of mercy prior to repentance.

I am not Victor Hugo's priest having to make a judgment on Jean Valjean's theft of the family silver.  Fritz and McQuade are not Jean Valjean.  Character matters.

Jesus forgave a thief as he was in his final hours on the cross.  The thief repented.  God doesn't just let stuff go.  He is our divine judge.  We will all face him someday.  We will all be continuing the journey that we started on earth.  The final destination for some will be the never ending experience of the thieving hellish existence they chose for themselves as a mortal.  Others will pass through judgment to an eternity with their heavenly Father, God, and His son Jesus.

Join with me in praying that Zena Fritz and Michael McQuade would make their hearts right with God, start going to Church, and strive to be the best Christians they can be.

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