September 30, 2015

Stolen Eggs and a Second Chance

Romans 12:17-21

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

—  Romans 12:21

Helen Johnson and five family members lived together in Tarrant, Alabama. At a grocery store, Johnson realized she did not have enough cash even to buy a dozen eggs, and the family hadn’t eaten for two days. She stuffed five eggs into her pocket, and they broke. (See

An employee called the ­police, but the store decided not to press charges. Instead of arresting Johnson, Officer William Stacy bought a dozen eggs and gave them to her.

Officer Stacy remembered going hungry himself as a child because his mother didn’t always have the money to feed him and his sister. When Johnson asked Stacy how to repay him, he told her not to shoplift again. “Sometimes the best route is to not arrest,” Stacy explained.

Stacy discerned that Johnson’s hunger, not her theft, was the evil that needed to be overcome with good, and God multiplied the good he did. A bystander recorded the incident and posted it on Facebook. Offers to help Johnson’s family came pouring in to the Tarrant police, who were able to provide enough food for them to stock their pantry.

As we have examined the church in action this month, I pray that we too have gained wisdom and the desire to overcome evil with good in our love for others through Jesus Christ.

God, fill us all with your wisdom, and motivate us with your deep love to overcome evil with good. In the precious name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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