Summary: An article written in response to a "Dear Abby" letter and response in the local newspaper.
Time for another “Dear Babby” column -- this time with an alternative response to the “letter” and “answer”:
DEAR BABBY: My son let me know this past year that he is a kleptomaniac. My first reaction was to tell him it was OK. (I had already suspected that he was.) I love him dearly and we’re a close family. His brothers and sisters also accept and love him.
My husband and I are now struggling because we’re not sure how God really views people who have a compulsion to steal. To listen to some religious people, my son will go to hell. I can’t believe that God would create a person to be this way, then turn His back on him.
I tried reading the Bible, but the wording was hard to understand. Do you believe a person who steals all the time will go to heaven? --Somewhere in the U.S.A.
DEAR SOMEWHERE: I believe that entrance to heaven is based upon a person’s character, not his or her propensity to steal. Today, because of modern scientific studies, we know more about kleptomania than was known when the Bible was written, and that kleptomania is not a “choice.” (END OF “COLUMN”)
Now for an alternative (my) response to the “letter”:
DEAR SOMEWHERE: I commend you and your family members for continuing to love your son. And, I would encourage you to continue loving him. While you may find his actions bewildering or even embarrassing, that is no reason to stop loving him. Jesus commanded us to “love one another”.
Since you have asked me how “God” really views people who steal, I will not pretend to be God and give you my opinion. Nor will I tell you what others (including scientists) think – since they are not God either.
God’s Word (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) tells us how God really views people who steal – and while we may not like what God thinks, there is also hope in these verses: “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
The Bible tells us that we all are inclined to do what God calls sin. For your son, this includes the propensity to steal. For others it might be a tendency toward serial adultery, or gossiping, or _______. You can fill in the blank!
The good news is that God has not turned His back on any of us. He has provided a way for us to be “washed”, to be forgiven for what He calls “sin”. And, He has provided a way for us to fight the temptations (tendencies) which we all face.
1 John 1:9 tells us that, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us. Our problem is that we too often don’t want to admit that what we are doing is “sin”.
Rather than turn His back on us, God comes to us with open arms and invites us to come to Him and receive forgiveness for our sins. He invites us to put our faith in Jesus Christ, who paid for our sins on the cross.
So, bottom line: Keep loving your son -- including loving him enough to share with him the forgiveness and hope that he can find in Jesus!