From childhood I hope we have all been taught that stealing is wrong; it’s a crime, and a sin, in other words it is an offense to God. But I’m 30 this year, 2012, and I’m realizing more than ever why I don’t want to offend God. Because He will smite me? No, He won’t. Because He will send me to hell? No, He won’t- my faith is in Christ. Because He might stop loving me? No, He will never stop loving me. Then why do I mind offending God? Because He loves me! Because He has washed my sins away. Because my 30 years of sin were nailed to the cross and the blood of Jesus washes me clean. I want to honor and obey God because my heart is glad of His grace.
So as with all the 10 Commandments and everything else God teaches us through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, I want to obey the 8th commandment because He loves me, not because I’m told to. Now, doing something because you are told to do is VERY honorable and right, but that doesn’t always change the condition of the doer’s heart. I want to obey God out of more than obedience to demands. I obey because I love Him.
“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If you love me you will do what I command.” John 14:15 This verse is one of many where I have learned that my heart should do what is right because I love Him. Obedience as a response of love, a cry of worship, is more valuable than obedience as a duty- and both are more valuable than rebellion.
God tells us not to steal in Exodus 20:15. It is fairly easy to take what you want whenever you want it from whoever has it. But it is loving your neighbor when you resist the temptation, and it is loving God as well. Whether from a person, a classroom, a business, or a website… stealing is wrong, immoral, and disobedient to God. Our prisons are filled with thieves. Some people get away with it. Some lives are ruined because of it. But love God by being obedient to His commandments and your life will be protected from the consequences of rebellion.
Don’t take that extra change from the cashier who made a mistake. Don’t steal that little perfume bottle from the bottom shelf of that store. Don’t swipe $10 from your father’s wallet. Don’t steal your friend’s DVD. Don’t use that person’s social security number. Don’t ‘borrow’ your grandmother’s credit card without asking. Don’t steal from your company by cheating on those taxes or misusing designated funds. Don’t steal time from your employer by lying on your time sheet. Don’t steal from your congregation by promising them health and prosperity if they give abundantly to your building fund.
You are not a pirate. Work hard for your money, be creative, pray for it, and save most of it. Be a lover of God by being a good steward. Don’t steal from God by hoarding money for yourself, or by being in debt, but give to others, take care of the poor, and give back to God faithfully.
Thou shalt not steal… ever… period. Just don’t do it. It’s better to love. It’s better to give. It’s better to obey.