Calvary Church

4216 West 204th St, Matteson, IL – 708-481-8300
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    When our original dishwasher died about a year ago, I replaced it with a lower-end new model.  I had replaced the pump on the former GE unit and had gotten a year or two more life out of it for a $50 E-bay part.  Soon, we noticed that the new washer was not getting the dishes all that clean.  Calling the company, they graciously sent me a new float valve switch which I installed to good effect. 

    After a few weeks, the washer was again inadequately cleaning the dishes.  The problem seemed to be a faulty float valve switch again.  If I added water manually, the dishes were cleaner.  For some reason, there was a water shortage when the wash cycle started.  Not even the soap was being rinsed out of the door thingy that opens to release the detergent at the proper time.  The company sent two switches this time, and a new intake valve.

    After I replaced the switch again, to no effect, the company offered to send a technician to our home at their expense to repair the dishwasher.  The repairman called me before he came by to make sure that the problem was not merely one improper instruction following, because in that case, we would be liable for the service call.  The short conversation assured him that our direction following skills were not at fault for the problem.

    He replaced the intake valve that lets the hot water in, but this had as much positive effect as the last float valve switch replacement.  A bit annoyed at the lack of solution, we tested the water supply line.  It does indeed make a great difference if a dishwashing machine has a good water supply, which it did not.  The line shut off valve, for which I am liable, was not allowing enough water into the washer for even minimally effective cleaning.  (I have since repaired the infracting valve with dramatic effect.)

    The technician finished filling out the work order and said that in reality, I should be liable for the repair, but not to worry about it, seeing that he did replace a valve on the washer.  It seems that replacing a part that had nothing to do with the lack of performance was enough to justify having the fine manufacturer having to pay $85 for that which it had no real liability.  I questioned this, but he said that it was fine, and that the paperwork was already filled out.  He packed up his tools and went to the next job.

    So is it right to rip off a big company for a mere $85, just because some paper work can falsely justify it.  I am not sure why I did not insist on having the bill directed to me.  I would like to think that I was a little confused, but more than likely, I was just seeking to participate in bill duckage.  Convicted, I called the tech the next day to see what it would take to cover the cost myself, to have him redo the paper work.  I got nowhere.  He assured me that only he and I would know and that I should not worry about it.

    I think that what I actually accomplished was to compromise what integrity I might have for $85.  Why did I allow theft to occur on my behalf?  Why did I not at the moment demand to be billed for the service call?  Sure I felt uneasy, but I did allow this to happen. 

    Scripture is abundantly clear here, starting with commandment number 8, “You shall not steal.”  Pastors are not supposed to steal anything, and yet, in reality, I have participated in the taking of $85 from the manufacturer.  I certainly did not plan this, but I am culpable nonetheless of this transgression.  (“Transgression” is a much nicer word than “sin”, don’t you think?)

    If I am to honor Christ in all of my life, I need to find a way to pay this bill that I might be repentant.  Mere feeling bad about it has nothing to do with repentance, but we sometime feel that feeling bad is good enough and therefore is all that we need to do. 

    If I call the repair company and explain the situation, I risk having the serviceman get into trouble.  In reality, he was probably just conforming to standard practice: It is alright to rip off the big guy.  Perhaps the service company will simply tell me not to worry about it.  I am not content with either solution.

    I will call the company in the morning (they are currently closed) and try to work something out so that I can pay what I owe without getting anyone in hot water.  I am unsure that they will have ever dealt with such a call before, so it should be interesting.

    I fully understand that I could take a “no harm, no foul” attitude, but seeking to live for Christ does not allow me to push aside what I can get away with as being acceptable.  Even more, if I do not try to fix this, I am the one who is harmed by the degrading of my honesty as well as my integrity.   It is not that I am putting myself through some major kind of guilt trip in this, but I do believe that I have the Spirit’s conviction. 

    If I knowingly get too much change back for what I have purchased, I have become an opportunistic thief.  If I purchase an item that I know is priced mistakenly, am I not taking improper advantage?  If I take credit that I do not deserve, have I not taken what is someone else’s?   

    So anyway, in what hopefully is an effort to honor Christ in my life, I can find a way to pay what I rightfully owe.  You will have to ask me about this to know how it turns out!

    Stay awesome and maintain integrity.

    Acts 20:24

    Epilogue: I called the company and graciously explained the situation, keeping any blame away from the tech, and asked to be billed.  They said that they had never had a call like this before, and I explained that I was just trying to honor Christ.  They said that there was no means to correct this error and that I should not worry about it at all.  We sent the money that we should have paid to some amazing missionaries in Thailand who needed an appliance for their kitchen.

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