Stealing – Why do people steal and what does the Bible say about stealing?

April 4, 2012

in Faith and Religion

Clipart by BNP Design Studio

Just yesterday I was reading a new post from CC @ I Love To Gossip about her recent ordeal with someone breaking into her house and stealing around $10,000 worth of jewelry, computers and more from her home.  This was a terrifying event that happened to her and she felt victimized.

After reading CC’s post, I began to wonder why people would want to steal from someone else; taking items that don’t belong to them or that they didn’t work for.  But more importantly, I sought out what God has to say about stealing by reading His Hold Word, the Bible.

Why do people steal?

Well, this is a tough question and one that only the “thief” could answer.  There are many different reasons and justifications as to why someone would want to steal from someone else.

  • A situation in which a person cannot control or believes they have no other option.  Sometimes good people are faced with problems and situations which would cause them to do something that they would never have done before.  For instance, say a person lost his job and his only source of income.  This person has five children and a spouse to support.  This person and his/her family are facing repossession of their home and have no money for food.  They may feel they are “between a rock and a hard place” and have no other choice but to steal in order to provide for their family.  Does that make it right? No.  Does the ends justify the means in this case? To some it may, but according to  God, no.
  • To provide for a want that they can’t afford for themselves. Sometimes people steal to take things they want that they couldn’t afford to buy themselves.  For instance, breaking in a home and stealing electronics, jewelry and other valuables.  Not because they “have” to have the item to survive, but just because they want that particular item.  This is wrong!  No justification for this type of stealing!
  • Stealing for the fun of it and for the “rush” it gives someone.  Wow, what type of person would steal just for the thrill of stealing and seeing if they can get away with it?  There are a lot of people out there (young and old) that are thrill seekers and don’t take the consequences of their actions into consideration.  They just seek the thrill and the rush it gives them to break into someone’s home or vehicle, take something that doesn’t belong to them and then flee the scene without getting caught.  If they get by with it one time, then they will do it again and again.  This is wrong!  No justification for this type of stealing!

As you can see, there aren’t any concrete reasons as to why someone would steal from others.  It can be due to many factors.  Only the thief and God knows why he/she did it.  Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about stealing.

Bible Verses on Stealing:

Exodus 20:15

“You shall not steal.”  (pretty straight to the point, don’t you think?)

Exodus 22:7

“If a man gives to his neighbor money or goods to keep safe, and it is stolen from the man’s house, then, if the thief is found, he shall pay double.”

Ephesians 4:28

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”

Romans 13:9

“For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandments, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Now, we know that God forbids us to steal.  It is wrong and there will be consequences for our actions if we choose to steal.  Can we be forgiven of this sin?  YES.  All you need to do is repent and ask God’s forgiveness and He shall forgive.

Common Things People Steal:

We often look at those who steal (stealing a car, robbing a bank, or robbing a retail/convenience store) as evil criminals that need to be punished.  And, yes they deserve to be punished.  However, did you know that even the most honest person could be guilty of stealing and not realize it?  Yep, that is right.  Most of us probably has stolen something in our life and we may not realize that we have done it or we may have just justified it because it was a “little” thing.  Let’s take a look at some common things people steal.

  • Paying for 1 newspaper from a vending machine and taking 3 newspapers.
  • Taking a robe, towel or any other things from your hotel room while you were on vacation.
  • Going to a convenience store and buying a fountain drink, taking a gulp out of the cup and then refilling it with more drink before placing the lid on it and paying for it. I’m guilty of this one – did you ever think of taking a sip of your drink before paying and then refilling as stealing?
  • Going to a restaurant and placing individually wrapped condiments (sugar, Splenda, mayo, mustard, etc) in your purse to take with you (and this after you have already eaten in the restaurant).
  • Paper or office supplies from work for non-work use.
  • Did you ever sneak into the Movie Theater when you were a kid?  Or pay for one movie, but kept sitting there through another movie?
I am sure there are many other small items that we are quilty of helping ourselves too, but just not realizing that it is wrong.  Just remember ….
If ever in doubt, just put it back!
Readers:  Are you guilty of taking that extra Splenda packet, etc?  Have you ever really stopped to think about it and consider it stealing?  Please share your experiences and/or thoughts on this subject.


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