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Woman Outraged when Suspected of Shoplifting

Author and pastor Fleming Rutledge tells the story of a friend named Sally who was falsely suspected of shoplifting at an upscale department store. Rutledge writes:

The store in question is fashionable and elegant. Sally herself is fashionable and elegant, the epitome of aristocratic dignity. She bought an expensive blouse at the store and took it with her in a shopping bag. Unfortunately, the saleswoman had forgotten to remove the white plastic device that was attached to the blouse. When Sally tried to go through the door, the alarms went off and the security forces pounced upon her. "Oh, my dear, how horrible for you!" cried her friends, listening to the story …. "Did you have identification? Did you call your lawyer? Did you ask to see the president of the store?"
Sally answered, "That wasn't a problem. I didn't have any trouble establishing who I was. That wasn't the bad part. The really bad part was the feeling of being treated like a common criminal!"

Reflecting on this incident, Fleming Rutledge made a connection between Sally's experience and Jesus' trial and crucifixion:

I tried to explain to Sally that the feeling of shame that she felt was a clue to the meaning of the death of Jesus, who was arrested like a common criminal, exhibited to the public like a common criminal, executed like a common criminal. I was unable to put this across. She does not believe herself to be guilty of anything. Wronged, yes; misunderstood, yes; undervalued, yes; imperfect, perhaps; but not guilty, certainly not sinful. Because she believes herself to be one of the "good" people, because she could never, never commit a small sin like shoplifting, she cannot see the connection between Jesus' death as a common criminal and herself. Sally could not hear the message of Good Friday.

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