BRADY COLUMN: Another look at stealing

Published 10:30 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking? Numbers of smash and grab looters are ransacking stores in California and other places. And the word is if you steal up to $950 it is considered a misdemeanor. Chances are the police won’t investigate and the prosecutors won’t prosecute. Is that an invitation for more smashing and grabbing or what?

Still recall God’s eighth commandment when He made it clear,“You shall not steal.” Stating it another way, we are not to proclaim for ourselves the possessions of another. Stealing is a sin because it violates our trust in God to provide and it violates our love for our neighbor as ourself.

Another point is that it has been proven in studies and experience that the best deterrent to crime is swift and sure justice.

What foolishness we are witnessing in our society.  While we are dealing in this article with stealing and theft, I’d like to expand it and relate to other forms of theft.

God’s word is still, “You shall not steal,” and it hardly needs reinterpretation-don’t take what belongs to another person or persons. Don’t take it by force or scheming or manipulation or deception or misrepresentation or cleverness or by cutting ethical cornerstones.

Now, before we say this doesn’t apply to us, let’s consider a few other forms of theft.

First, there’s the theft of time! When we hire on to do a job, we usually hire on to do so much work for so much pay. It may be a be a verbal or written agreement. But before long the employee begins cutting corners, arriving late, leaving early, taking extra time for lunch or slacking off in other ways.

Second, there’s the theft of reputation! Leroy Brownlow in his book “Granpa Was A Preacher,” shared this incident. He said Granpa had one of his flock complain about the inattention of another member. She said, “When you talk to her, it just goes in at one ear and out at the other. Can you think of anything as bad as that?”  “Yes,” Granpa says, “If it went in at one ear and out at the mouth.”

Third, there’s the theft of honesty! I read of a professor who was giving a greshman math quiz, and who made this statement: “Today I am going to give you two examinations, one in Trigonometry an one in honesty, I hope you will pass both of them. But if you must fail one, let it be Trigonometry.”

And to be sure, there are numerous other forms of theft. But the underlying philosophy is the same for all of them, “What’s yours is mine, and I’ll take it.”

However, God still points us to a functioning life and society when he says, “You shall not steal.”