John’s Blog- What was really stolen
How secure do we really want to be?
My wife called me from Chicago a few days ago. She is there to help with our daughter’s new baby. She is enjoying herself but her different location is causing issues. Needless to say, there is an acute concern these days with credit card theft and identity theft. She already had her identity stolen about a year ago. She recently paid a bill and inadvertently sent the payment with her old credit card number on it rather than the new number she had been issued after the identity theft. What a hassle!
Using her credit cards and accessing email from her computer in Chicago has sent up all sorts of red flags. I have gotten a number of warnings that her account may have been accessed without permission. I am then asked to verify that the card has not been misused. Here is where the trouble becomes double trouble. Thieves are constantly trying to get us to give them information in order to validate that our accounts are not being hacked and then using the very information we give them to hack our accounts. The bottom line is we become afraid to trust anyone. Eventually community is destroyed.
The Ten Commandments have been around a bit longer than credit cards. At least I assume Moses did not have a Visa, though given his connections he might have had a MasterCard. (I’m sorry. I just could not resist.) God was not just trying to make our lives difficult when God gave us the Ten Commandments. These were not rules just for the sake of having rules. God knew that lying, stealing, and covetousness, to name just a few, were behaviors that destroy community. If I cannot trust you then I cannot live happily in community with you.
There is nothing wrong, I suppose, with having a pre-nuptial agreement* prior to a marriage. However, if such an agreement is necessary, it might not bode well for the marriage. I have nothing against lawyers. Over my career, lawyers have been some of the finest people I have known. A lawyer in my church in Nashville is the only member I ever had to increase his pledge at the end of the year because his bonus was larger than he expected. Nevertheless, I am going to guess that if you have to have a lawyer draw up the agreement in order for you to be married, it may not be the best sign.
A good friend says that no one should get married unless they are in a “marriage coma.” In other words, blinded by love. If you are so in your right mind that you draw up the contract before you enter the covenant (of marriage that is), it might just be a sign you should not be married. If you are going to get on a two-person life raft for a journey to who knows where, it is not a bad idea to trust the person with the only other oar.
The bottom line is this: trust is demanded in order for us to live happily in community. If someone steals your identity, they steal much more than that. They also take your ability to trust. If you want to know how damaging that can be financial terms, you might want to give Target a call.
*There are cases where pre-nuptial agreements are essential for the wellbeing of the community. For example, in the event of second marriages where there are children from previous marriages or in cases where trust funds that implicate other family members are involved.