Do not accept minor misdeeds

By Paulo Coelho

The teacher asked his disciples to go and find something to eat. They were travelling and could find no proper food.

The disciples came back later that afternoon. Each brought with him the little he had gleaned from other people’s charity: rotten fruit, stale bread, sour wine.

However, one of the disciples returned with a bag of ripe apples.

‘I will always do all I can to help my teacher and my brothers,’ he said, sharing out the apples with the others.

‘Where did you get them from?’ asked his teacher.

‘I had to steal them. People only wanted to give me leftovers, even though they know that we preach the word of God.’

‘Leave us this minute and take your apples with you, and never come back,’ said the teacher. ‘The ends never justify the means, however noble those ends might be. If you steal for me today, tomorrow you might end up stealing from me.’

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  1. Agnieszka says:

    Dear Paulo,

    Nothing can justify stealing, especially if this was the man who preach God.
    Well,.. maybe there’s one exception – hungry children…
    but that’s not the case.


  2. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo and friends

    I enjoyed this story because of its truth. I am a character who hates dishonesty of any kind. If a person lies to me, i have a tendency to go completely off them, even if they are one of my friends. I just feel like i can’t trust that person again, i can’t look at them in the same light. I don’t like lies, i don’t like cheating and a certainly don’t like stealing. Unfortunately in my country, you can’t leave your house with out wondering throughout the evening if someone is breaking in. Most south Africans live in fear, and its a sad, cruel reality. Strangely enough i was listening to a radio show tonight, which i actually accidently came across, and i was amazed by the postivity of a guest on the show. The manner in which he spoke about addressing problems in our society, little things that we forget to do everyday, like smiling, or greeting someone, even repecting your society, throwing litter away, cleaning graffiti.. he seemed to be incredibly empowering, and the truth is, he is very right. We forget, that sometimes, even a smile can change the world. We forget because its so simple, that our surrounding enviroment often can influence our moods. We forget that the solutions to the must complex problems are often very simple. I must admit, i was rather impressed. But all this was focused on erradicating violent crime. Crimes that are committed because of poverty on the other hand, is another major major problem here. But can you really blame them? If you have no money, no job, you’ve tried everything, and your children haven’t eaten in two, three days, would u think twice about stealing a bag of apples?
    What gets to me, is that i’m helpless. I do what i possibly can to help people, but i wish i could do more at times. poverty, leads to so many problems, from medical problems, to uneducation to crime, its all a vicious circle that is interlinked. I’m glad however, that people are trying, this is a long process of erradication which unfortunately cannot be solved over night. I hope things start to get better, and i hope that one day i can make the difference i sincerely want to. Truth is, i don’t know how, when or where, but i will make a change, for the good, i will create or help something, and i will influence peoples lives positively continuously..i just don’t know how yet.

    Thank you for being

  3. Tania says:

    Classic example of what goes around comes around take from someone and of course someone will take from you , stealing , physically ,spiritually or energetically is a no no …as you would no . Blessings Tania

  4. wanbliska says:

    The teacher should learn forgiveness.
    Indeed, stealing is not a good thing to do.
    Stealing is equal to make a lie.

    The teacher’s behaviour explains by itself, why the disciple did not revise his lessons.
    I would have accompany him back to the place of the robbery. Then, he would have to ask for forgiveness.
    But I surely would have not chase him away.

    It would have mean to show, there may be evil in church. But is that not the truth?