<<theft, robbery>>

Taking what belongs to someone else, without his or her permission. This includes finding something and not returning it to its owner, not returning something that has been borrowed or not giving someone what is their right by withholding what is due to them (Lev 6:1-7). The Bible plainly states, “Do not steal” (Ex 20:15; Mt 19:18).

The remedy for stealing is not glibly saying ‘I’m sorry’. It is restitution – repaying with something of equal or greater value. In the OT law this reimbursement could be up to sevenfold (Prov 6:30,31). This should then be followed by a change of lifestyle. Zacchaeus voluntarily said he would pay back fourfold those he had stolen from; this indicated the genuineness of his encounter with Jesus (Lk 19:1-10).

We are robbing God of His rightful ownership of our lives if we are not continually consecrating ourselves to Him – ‘I am yours Lord, and I hold

He gave His all that He might have our all

nothing back’, allowing Him to possess what He bought with His blood on the cross (Rom 12:1,2; 1 Cor 6:19,20; 1 Pet 1:18,19). He has saved us from eternal damnation so shouldn't we "bless the Lord at all times", the good and not so good (Ps 34:1). He also gives us skill in numerous areas of life to accomplish remarable things and also the ability to work and earn a living – don't rob Him of the glory by not acknowledging His hand on your life (Deut 8:18). Stealing is also a characteristic of Satan – “The thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy” our potential and inheritance in Christ (Jn 10:10).

Using dishonest scales and inaccurate measures is deception and abhorrent to God (Deut 25:13-16). Ananias and Sapphira deceived the apostles and suffered the

Am I guilty of stealing in some way?

consequences while slaves were instructed not to steal from their masters but to show they were trustworthy (Act 5:1-11; Tit 2:10). In today’s context, the deceitful dealings that are displeasing to God include fudging on our tax returns or not giving our allotted time on the job (Rom 2:21). Because of sexual assault, many females have been robbed of their innocence and self-esteem.  Jesus said if we compromise our integrity in the little areas it will carry over into the big areas too (Lk 16:10,11). All our actions are visible before God and we will be held accountable for all we do (Eccl 12:14; Heb 4:13). Jesus gave this advice to tax collectors and soldiers – don’t demand more than is the correct amount (Lk 3:12-14). In today's language this could be seen as while a fair profit should be made on business dealings it should not be exhorbitant. The golden rule is to do to others as we like them to do to us (Lk 6:31).

In the OT people were under a curse for robbing God if they were not paying their tithes – a tenth of their income (Mal 3:8-10). Surely, our appreciation of the immense grace of God to us, today, warrants more than was stipulated under the law. As our love of God is largely demonstrated by our concern of our fellow man, don’t rob those in your ‘world’ of the recognition, love, encouragement and practical assistance (as is appropriate) that they rightfully deserve (Mt 25:34-45; 1 Jn 4:20). The resources and abilities we have received to fulfill His calling on our lives should not be viewed as ‘mine’ but ‘ours’, whereby they are used and shared to bless others, otherwise we are stealing from them (Prov 19:17; Lk 12:16-21; Eph 4:28). There is lasting benefit in ‘laying up treasure in heaven’ (which we do by giving of our resources for the extension of God’s Kingdom) where it can’t be stolen (Mt 6:19,20).

See also: cheating, deception, gambling, honesty, integrity, possessions, restitution/restore, rob, thief, tithing.

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