The Fine Print

One time I was at work and my co-worker was ringing up a customer. This customer had a wide variety of t-shirts. As my co-worker was ringing them up, the shirts were coming up as 12.99. Suddenly the the customer recognized that there was something wrong. “Excuse me,” she said, “the those are not 12.99. The sign says they were 9.99.” My co-worker replied: “I’ll be right back.” She ran over to the table where the shirts were. They were folded on a table with tank tops right next to them. The sign on the table read: “9.99” In small letters underneath the big bold price was an indication that the tank tops were 9.99, not the t-shirts. My co-worker ran back to the register and explained the situation. The woman huffed a sigh of defeat. She said that it was very deceiving to put a sign right next to a product when it was a price for a different product.  My co-worker replied: “Well, you should have read the fine print.”

I wish I knew why stores did that. Logically,  I’m guessing there isn’t enough space to put two different products on two different tables with two different prices.  However, when my co-worker said that, I paused for a minute. I thought about my own life. How many times do I put in big bold letters what I want others to know, but then I hide what I don’t want people to know? I shout: “Here I am, happy and perfect!” But I whisper: “If you want to get to know me, you have to accept the terms and conditions.”

For a long time, I would hide my problems and insecurities from other people. I did not accept help from anyone. On the sign that I displayed on my table, I put up a front. I put in bold letters: “I’m worth knowing, independent,  and successful. Look how great I am!” However, in small print I would write, “Please help me. I need love and attention.” In a way, I was deceiving people. I had a smile on my face, while I was breaking on the inside. After several years, I’ve learned the value of practicing the discipline of honesty. God has set me free by giving me a new identity. I am no longer a worthless sinner; I am an important child of God.  In addition, my friends have supported me and I have found a safe place in sharing how I feel. I do not need to hide who I really am or how I feel, because I know that I am loved and cared for anyway. The messages I put in small letters do not affect my worth.

As my co-worker blamed the customer’s confusion on her inability to read the fine print, I began to realize how wrong it is to put up a front. Is it really OK to have a fine print, or is it deceiving? Are we really going to make exceptions to the rules? Or are we going to tell people honestly, “This is what’s going on”? Now of course there are limitations to this. I wouldn’t go around sharing my life story to every person I meet. However,  at the same time,  I want to be honest with people. I want to encourage people by sharing how God has rescued me from the bad in my kife. By sharing my weaknesses, I am changing the big bold letters to say “Glory to God.”

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