I am a thief. I steal things all the time. Though I do not pry through any window, a thief I remain.
Have you ever stolen something? When I was ten I stole a candy bar from the local 7-11. I didn’t have enough money for the candy so I stuck it in my pocket and left the store with it. I felt pretty bad about it then and thinking about it now still brings up some feelings of shame.
We all have some story like that. We all “lifted” something in our younger years, even if it was only a younger brother’s toy we wanted!
But we are not only focusing on stuff here. I am not talking about breaking into houses. I am talking about something more subtle. You see, you can steal a person’s stuff but you can also steal a person’s time, reputation and blessing.
Have you ever been late for a meeting? Have you ever given less than your “all” at work? You have stolen someone else’s time.
Have you ever gossiped about someone? Have you ever failed to stand up for someone? You have stolen their reputation.
Have you ever withheld love from someone? You have stolen someone’s blessing.
Like me, you just might be a thief without ever breaking into someone else's house.
Read: Deuteronomy 5:6, 16-19; Romans 13:7-10
6 “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
16 “Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
17 “You must not murder.
18 “You must not commit adultery.
19 “You must not steal.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. 8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
New Living Translation
This command is really simple. Do not steal. Do not take what is not yours. That’s it.
The word “steal” is klepto. Do you recognize the word? Klepto is the root word from which we get the word kleptomaniac. Kleptomania (Greek: κλέπτειν "to steal") is the condition of not being able to resist the urge to collect or hoard things. Kleptomania was first officially recognized in the US as a mental disorder in the 1960s in the case of the state of California v. Douglas Jones.
Most of us are not kleptomaniacs but all of us are thieves at some level. All of us do not use our time and resources to the max. We do not always give it our all.
Look again at the verses from Romans. What kind of things does Paul include that we are to not withhold from others?
Taxes (v.7) Have you considered stealing in light of taxes or money?
Respect (v.7) Have you considered stealing in light of not respecting someone’s time?
Honor (v.7) Have you considered stealing in light of not honoring someone’s name or reputation?
Love (v.8) Have you considered stealing in light of withholding love from others?
Can you identify with any of these areas? Has God brought anything to mind that needs to be confessed? Anything that needs to be put right? Make a plan to deal with it. Be ruthless with yourself. If God is convicting you on an issue deal with it. Make a plan.
How are you at home? Do you have someone elses stuff in your garage?
How are you at work? Are you giving your all?
How are you with guarding the reputation of others? Are you careful with your tongue?
How are you with loving others? Are you withholding love from someone?
How are you allowing God to use your gifts? Where are you serving others?
Make a plan to stop stealing today! :)
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