On one occasion in my life, my mama stuck bar of Ivory soap in my mouth for a verbal transgression I committed. I still think about it when I say something regretful.
There are a lot of people out there today who apparently did not have a mama who taught them right from wrong.
Stealing is wrong, but it is particularly troubling when it happens during the holidays.
In the course of a week, we had a man arrested in Hall County for not just stealing from a Salvation Army kettle, but taking the kettle, the bell and the apron.
A lot of folks just think of the Salvation Army as a charitable outfit that helps folks in time of need. But there is that word "salvation." The folks who wear the uniform are followers of Jesus and have joined an organization that is supposed to spread the gospel.
The man took money that essentially belonged to God.
I don't know what God would do, but I have a few ideas of my own.
I'm not quite ready to adopt the Islamic policy of cutting off your hand for stealing. But I might tie that rascal's hand to a table saw and turn it on and slide his arm toward the blade. I'd like to make him sweat, cry or other means of expelling water. Then, I'd lock him up for a long time.
How many times do we hear a report on the evening news that a family has lost all their Christmas gifts in a burglary? That is just so wrong. Someone took the time to select a gift for someone, wrap it with pretty paper and bows, and then some knucklehead breaks in your house and steals it.
The same is true for gifts taken out of cars at a shopping venue's parking lot.
The one that tops them all is when crooks break into a church and steal whatever they can find, often expensive stuff like sound equipment.
One of the first things I learned as a child was that the church was God's house. You don't run, spit or cuss at God's house. You certainly don't steal.
Jesus talked a lot about forgiveness and I am grateful to have it. There are some things in my past that I am glad there is forgiveness.
One common denominator among the folks who steal at Christmas is that none of them have been charged with spending too much time in church or Sunday school. If you can break into God's house, there's a pretty good chance you haven't been there for services ... unless you were casing the place.
The thought of facing the almighty with unconfessed sin that just happened to have taken place at his house should send chills down your spine. When your chosen profession is breaking the law, it probably doesn't bother you if you're stealing at a mall or a church.
I sincerely hope these folks do find forgiveness, but I hope it also comes with a nice and extended stay at the graybar hotel. I want them to think about it for a long, long time.
Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column appears every week in Sunday Life.