Integrity or Foolishness?

“Hmm.. Jemima, something unfortunate happened to James.” Helen told me.

“Who is James?” I asked absent-mindedly.

“That neighbour of mine who became the breadwinner of his family at a very young age due to tragic circumstances.”

“You mean the guy who does low-paid jobs so as to earn enough money for his school fees?” I asked.

“Oh yes, that guy!” Helen replied.

The tone of my friend’s voice made my ears perk up.

“So what happened to James?”

“Three weeks ago”, Helen began, “James went to the bank to check his account balance, and to his surprise found out that a large sum of money was deposited into his account. Since he had no clue who sent the money into his account, he decided to wait for a few days for the depositor to call. Nobody called.

Then James went back to the bank to find out more about the money, and there he got to know that it was a terrible mistake made by one of the tellers whose job was hanging by a thread. They apologized and retrieved the money immediately. James is now back to having a ‘thin’ account.”

After listening to Helen’s story, I asked how that was an unfortunate situation. She replied, “isn’t it unfortunate for a very poor family to have such a daft person in it? James could have taken that money and relocate with his family to an unknown place! They needed that money more than anyone else!”

Some people around us heard our conversation and interjected with their own opinions. While some said that it was foolishness to return such money because that could be God’s way of blessing the family, others said it was the right thing to do, and some said that they would have returned the money only after negotiating with the bank for a compensation. I asked my friend if she would take such money, at the expense of another person. A loud, funny ringtone made us digress from the matter under discussion.

Now I throw these questions to you, dear reader. Do you commend James for his integrity or rebuke him for his foolish deed? What would you do in this situation?

Much love
Jemima

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