Wednesday, July 20, 2011

~ "It was just a tootsie roll and I put it on the checkout and she didn't ring it up..."

Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:15)

Another commandment that seems relatively simple - if it doesn't belong to you and you don't have permission to have it - don't take it.

We all know the obvious definition of stealing...but what about the amount of time you goof off at work because you just don't feel like doing work on any particular day? What about that copy paper you needed to print out your resume at home and ran out of paper, what about the 40 minutes you spent on the phone with your friend? Then we come to the items the check out girl forgot to ring up or the extra change she gave you. That, too, is stealing. Stealing someone "thunder" is also a sin (for those of you who don't get that one - it's when you spread someone else's good news to others - denying them the joy of delivering it themselves). Stealing someone's reputation by telling others things they would not know (gossip). The only time that stealing is allowed is when you are playing baseball!

If you have to invent a way to justify what you've done (I was bored, I just had to share it, it was her mistake), then you've broken the commandment. Stealing is not just taking material goods. There are more ways to steal than I have time to write. Matthew Henry (a much more eloquent writer than I) sums it up with these words: "This command forbids us to rob ourselves of what we have by sinful spending, or of the use and comfort of it by sinful sparing, and to rob others by removing the ancient landmarks, invading our neighbour's rights, taking his goods from his person, or house, or field, forcibly or clandestinely, over-reaching in bargains, nor restoring what is borrowed or found, withholding just debts, rents, or wages, and (which is worst of all) to rob the public in the coin or revenue, or that which is dedicated to the service of religion."

Once again, we must reflect the will of God by "setting things right". Give back, apologize, ask forgiveness, don't do it again! Be willing to confess to the God of mercy and grace all the things that take you away from His gifts to you. Be ready to accept the consequences for your actions regardless, knowing that He will not allow you to be destroyed and you will be given all that you need. Don't just take - ask. If the answer is no, He will provide another way. You cannot steal the gates of heaven and you cannot take what does not rightfully belong to you. Start today - stop today! Hit your knees and ask forgiveness for all those harmless infractions - they may not have harmed anyone else, but if they're bothering you, then they have harmed someone - you! God has a way to set things right - let Him set things right with you!