Summary: This study looks at stealing with a particular focus on modern ways in which people are guilty of this sin.
Today, we are going to discuss a topic that is straight-forward. We are going to discuss a topic that all of us can understand. We are going to look at a sin that has been around since the Garden of Eden, that being stealing.
Stealing is simply taking anything that does not belong to us. It is taking something that we have no permission to have. It does not matter what the item is or how valuable, to take anything that does not belong to us is stealing and stealing, according to God, is wrong!
Every day, almost 22 thousand theft crimes are reported. That translates to slightly more than 7 million theft cases reported each year. The total value of property taken amounts to about 5 billion dollars. Cases where force is used in the act of stealing - which is called robbery - amount to a half million a year and involve property value taken in the area of 500 million dollars. When it comes to breaking into a house or business to steal - which is called burglary - there are 2 million reported cases each year and the value of property taken is estimated at 3.5 million dollars.
To combine all those statistics together, we are talking about ten million reported cases a year of people stealing property from somebody else at a cost of about ten billion dollars.
Even though those figures are high, the reality is that the vast majority of cases where someone steals some-thing that belongs to another goes unreported.
There are two primary reasons why most cases of stealing go unreported to the police.
1. There are numerous cases where a member of one’s family will steal from another member of the family. Or, a so-called friend will steal something from a friend. Because the victims do not want to get the person - who they care about - in trouble with the law, they don’t report the theft.
Maybe you know of an instance where a family member has stolen something that belongs to another family member. Maybe some money, a credit card, some clothing, a book, CD or a video. Maybe you know of a friend who has stolen from a friend. Maybe you have been guilty or have been the victim.
What needs to be realized is that stealing is an act of hate. Paul explains this in Romans 13:9-10, “For this, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.”
Paul says that if you truly love someone, you would never steal from them because true love does no harm to that person. When you love someone, you will treat them the same way that you would have them treat you.
I doubt that anyone of us desires to have our money or possessions stolen from us. To take money or anything else that belongs to another is an act of hate rather than love. If we love our family and our friends, we will never steal anything from them. (As Christians, we are to love everyone; therefore, to steal from anyone is sin.)