This cautionary tale comes to mind; a true story with the names omitted, the places changed and details altered to protect the innocent.
At the prestigious firm, she was a trusted employee working in the financial department where hundreds of thousands of dollars were handled. Well paid and with generous benefits, she lived the good life and had the potential of advancement with bigger, more important responsibilities or she could move to another company that might offer her even higher pay and more perks; her options were many.
However, a dark spot sprouted and was beginning to grow far under the surface where no one could see it.
Not satisfied with what her salary could afford her, she began spending more than she made. The larger house, better car and clothes were draining her paycheck until she was living from payday to payday. Then, one day, she needed funds for lunch and gas but the credit cards were maxed out. Her eyes fell on the petty cash box she kept locked in her desk. A loan, she would loan herself the money and pay it back after payday. Of course, there was the question of the log for the money, but a bogus entry took care of that.
Payday came and went and there were bills to pay and money to stretch until the next month’s salary payment. Also, there were additional dips into the petty cash box and new fabricated line items in the ledger. Eventually, she determined that there was no reason to pay back the appropriated funds. After all, the owners of the firm made so much money because of her efforts and she was not necessarily adequately compensated for all she did for them. The petty cash acquisitions were, well, the raise she deserved. Anyway, none of the executives noticed such small sums, given the large amounts that passed through the firm on a monthly basis.
Each month, she reported to her boss with the accounts and each time he verified and accepted them as correct. Nevertheless, leading up to the annual audit, she was nervous and swore that she was done, finished with using out of petty cash. Yet, when the outside agency auditors came and went without incident, she felt secure.
Unfortunately, her spending habits had not changed with her resolution. Instead, they were becoming more problematic and she was constantly reaching the end of her bank account before the end of the month. A bill sat in her purse that had to be paid, but she did not have the money. While her mind tried to find an option as she worked, one suddenly presented itself in the form of a check from a client. With a simple adjustment, the client account showed paid but the funds were not directed into the firm’s bank account, but hers. Her bill was promptly paid and the pressure was off; momentarily.
Another month and another unpaid expense short, she found it necessary to creatively transfer another check into her account. By the fourth or fifth time, it had become easy and she was confident that her boss and the owners would never see or notice the missing funds.
At the annual holiday party, she accepted the adoration of the owners as one of the key employees who were responsible for the success of the firm. She was given a raise and additional perks including a parking place closer to the door near the executive parking. There was nothing to fear from those above her.
Trouble came when a lower level accountant under her supervision notice a small discrepancy, a minor detail. Clearing up the trivial little things was part of the accountant’s job and she thrived on dealing with them. After eliminating all the potential reasons for the error, she was left with a banking error. When the bank verified that it had not made a mistake on their part, there left only one explanation; someone in the firm had fraudulently altered the check’s passage through the company accounts. She finally, fearfully took her documentation secretly over her boss’ head.
After carefully combing the books, it was determined that more than $100,000.00 had been embezzled over months and years. In reality, the figure was estimated to have been much larger, but so well disguised were the thefts that it would have taken months to find them all.
Some might argue that her mistake was in taking one too many checks while others would maintain that it was the moment when she determined that she had a right to the funds or some point to her failure to repay the initial dip into the petty cash. I maintain that it was surrendering to white sins which led her down a path that saw her eventually fired, almost prosecuted, and financially and personally damaged for many years. The moment she gave in to a white sin, she set herself up for devastation. For one white sin led to another and another until they became an avalanche of destructive behavior and ruinous consequences.
To avoid the devastation brought on by the eventual results of gigantic sins, avoid the temptations of white sins.