Fake Money by Patty LaRoche

With Dave asleep and my ten-dollar-missionary-money due at this morning’s Bible study, I needed to retrieve my emergency stash from its hiding place. Imagine my surprise when I found not only a ten-dollar bill but a onehundred-dollar one as well. It was Christmas in September! I happily stuffed the money into my purse, headed to the Bible study and placed my $10 in the missionary collection.

Following that meeting and returning home to organize my day, I could hardly wait to share with my (now) awake husband about my windfall. This was happy news for Dave. He asked if I would exchange that bill for five-twenties. No big deal. It all spends the same. Dave handed me the twenties, and I gave him the $100 bill. He paused, rubbed it with his fingers and immediately appeared to lose his happiness. Holding the bill close to my face, Dave pointed out that I had missed one teensy, weensy matter, like the faded words “Play Money” stamped next to Benjamin Franklin’s picture. (And yes, if you are wondering, there was a certain “I think you have done this intentionally and find this funny” tone to his voice.)

Which was ridiculous. This was not Monopoly money. These bills were made to look real, and other than their size, thinness and that nearly invisible “Play Money” wording, could fool anyone…well, except Sherlock Dave.

Thankfully, I had not tried to pass my counterfeit find off at Price Chopper, the top of my errand list. But then it dawned on me. What if my $10 missionary payment also was play money? And what if next Monday, Billie Jo Drake, our Bible study leader, held it up and asked if anyone in our group was missing a fake, ten-dollar bill? Yikes!

When Dave realized that I was clueless (Save your comments), he seemed stunned that I had made such a careless mistake. (Seriously? We’ve been married 45 years. He should be used to this by now). Still, my immediate problem was not my husband; it was having to admit to Billie Jo that I was an idiot. My happiness, like the Play Money wording, was fading. Could I somehow avoid this phone call? Pride sure wanted me to.

I reminded myself that little things like repenting to Bible study leaders is minor compared to acknowledging my failings to God, even though He knows about my sins (and yours—you’re not off the hook here) before I even commit them. Which, when you think about it, should make contrition rather easy. And it would be, were it not for Pride.

Blame it on Adam and Eve. They were the ones who originally disobeyed and hid from God instead of repenting, and since Pride worked so well in the Garden of Eden, maybe that is why Satan relies on it being just as effective today. But there is hope! Even though erring is part of our sinful condition, repenting is a privilege of our Christian condition.

It’s true. God doesn’t bang His head on a table when His children mess up. He knows what we are going to do before we do it. All He asks is that we ask for forgiveness.

It was time to call Billie Jo and…Gulp… try to explain what I had done. She was gracious, checked the bills and told me that none were phonies. I thanked her (and Jesus) and hung up. Hubby wasn’t quite so understanding. He stood there with his hand outstretched, expecting me to give back his twenty-dollar bills and definitely not happy that he had been had…proving my point that no one is exempt from Pride.

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