Thou Shall Not Steal: What the Bible Says about Stealing
By Betty Miller
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10
The thief Jesus is referring to in this scripture is Satan, himself. The Lord contrasts the work of the devil as stealing, killing and destroying, while the work of the Lord is to bring abundant life to His people. Notice that a thief doesn’t stop at the one sin of stealing, but rather progresses on to kill and destroy. Many people do not realize that what they think as just taking seemingly little things, can lead to taking bigger things and ultimately one becomes a thief. The “little fox” of stealing the towels from the motel, shop lifting small items, and keeping things that do not belong to them, could lead to a dangerous pattern which could eventually lead to one being imprisoned for theft.
Shoplifting alone costs our businesses enormous amounts of money which causes all consumers to have to pay higher prices for goods. When a nation stoops to thievery in any form, it hurts all the people. In recent news articles, we have seen how thievery on a national level has jeopardized the safety of our whole country because of people stealing our national secrets and selling them to our potential enemies. We must pray for this element of sin in our society to be removed. We, as Christians, know this can only happen through the Lord changing men’s hearts and giving them power over the sin in their lives. We must pray for revival in our nation so that honor and honesty will prevail in our national life.
We must also check our own lives to see if we are failing God by yielding to stealing or cheating. We may not realize that some of the things we do constitute just that — stealing. However, we don’t recognize it as such. Here is a small checklist of some of things that would classify us as a thief:
- Taking the salt and pepper shakers from restaurants.
- Taking the towels from hotels and motels.
- Short-changing people at check out counters on purpose.
- Shoplifting and taking anything that does not belong to us.
- Using scales that are not in balance when selling by weight. (Proverbs 11:1, “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.”)
- Giving a partial days work for a full days pay, you are stealing time from your boss.
- Padding the expense accounts of your employer.
- Charging people excessive interest on borrowed money (usury). (Ezekiel 22:12-13, “In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.”)
- Cheating on school exams, as this is stealing a qualification you didn’t earn.
- Over-charging or over-pricing of the sale of goods.
- Borrowing” items from a friend and never returning them.
- Borrowing money from anyone (friend or institution) and failing to repay it.
This is just a short list but it will serve as a checklist for some people who only think of thievery as someone who robs a bank and is guilty of extortion. Our world is full of thieves at every level as there are scam artists who talk people out of their money everyday. They particularly prey on the elderly and have been able to rob many of them of their entire life savings. We must ask the Lord for an honest heart in the little areas of our lives as the small dishonest things we do can lead to larger sins that we would regret later. Don’t let the “little fox” of stealing be one of the things that would bring dishonor to the Lord.
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Betty Miller has written several books on other topics as well. To view titles or purchase those books visit our bookstore.