REVIEW OF THE COMMANDMENTS REGARDING PEOPLE
Commandments five through ten show us how not to hurt other people. God tells us: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we love people, we will not want to hurt them.
These commandments are simply about respecting others in their persons and possessions.
The fifth commandment tells us to honor and respect our parents.
The sixth commandment requires us to respect another’s God-given right to life. One person has no right to take away another person’s life. Life has value and is a precious gift from God.
(Commandments five and six were covered in previous lessons.)
The seventh commandment is a command for adults to respect one another.
This lesson will concentrate on the eighth commandment: “You shall not steal”. If you take something away from another person that shows a disrespect for them and their possessions. We should have respect for another’s property.
A CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE
When Granny Vee was a little girl, I was in a big store with my parents. I saw this interesting toy and I wanted it. So I took it and put it in my pocket without paying for it. That’s stealing. It was only a little 25-cent toy but it was still stealing. When I got home, the Holy Spirit of God made me realize that what I had done was very wrong. So I cried and I asked God to forgive me and He did.
Being sorry for what we have done and asking God to forgive us is called “repentance”. When we do something wrong, the Holy Spirit makes us aware that we have sinned. Then we admit or confess our sin to God our Father, and ask Him to forgive us. If we have hurt someone else as well, we should also ask their forgiveness.
If we steal something from somebody, it is a good action to return it or to go back and pay for it, and ask their forgiveness. This is called restitution. You may be embarrassed to do so, but it is something that will please God your Father. So if you’ve ever stolen anything, return it and it will make you feel good as well.
OTHER KINDS OF STEALING
Maybe you’ve never stolen a toy or a candy bar outright. But there are other kinds of stealing. Stealing is taking things that do not rightfully belong to you.
Maybe you’ve stolen a grade by cheating on a test.
Or maybe you’ve cheated a restaurant business by taking more than you really need of their ketchup or mints and taking lots home for your own fridge! What is fair? Ask yourself, if that were your business, would you want everyone to be taking big stacks of napkins home with them? Take what you think you will need for that meal and no more. Be fair.
Be fair at all-you-can-eat restaurants as well. Don’t hide an extra slice of pizza in your bag for breakfast in the morning! “All-you-can-eat” rules are for one person for one meal, and not designed so you can eat all day on it. Be fair.
If you go into another’s home or business and recklessly mess things up and destroy their property that is very disrespectful. Would you want someone to come into your room and destroy your favorite game, ripping up cards and making a mess?
You may have seen graffiti and awful writing on walls in some public bathrooms. It is sinful to intentionally mar or destroy another’s property. Treat other’s property as you would your own. Be considerate. Be fair. Be kind.
Businesses often have pens that they offer free as promotions. Don’t take advantage of their generosity. Taking a whole box of pens from a business without their permission could be petty theft.
Knowingly keeping the wrong change is dishonest as well. If a cashier miscounts and gives you back a dollar more than you are due, return the extra dollar. They will be pleasantly surprised to know that there are still honest people in the world!
When you get a job, do a good job for your employer. Don’t steal the time from them for which they are paying you.
All these things may seem like petty things, but God looks on our hearts. It is important to God that we have hearts and actions that respect others, their money, and their property.
WHY DO PEOPLE STEAL?
Why do people steal? They see something they want and think they should have it as well. Often this is jealousy. We think that it’s not fair that someone else has new sneakers and we don’t. This jealousy is not something with which God is pleased. God has a perfect plan for each of His children. But everyone is unique and we should trust God to give us what is best for us. He is a Good Father!
People also steal because they are fearful that they will not have what they need to live. Fear is the opposite of faith. We should have faith and confidence in God to provide for our needs. As children of God, we can pray and ask our heavenly Father for what we need, and He will provide all that we need. Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father, who art in Heaven… Give us this day our daily bread.” He didn’t mean just to pray for bread but to pray for what we need daily. But we should know that everything we want is not a need!
God will provide all our needs. Here is what Jesus Christ taught us about our needs:
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
God is a lavish giver! “God so loved the world that He gave….” He gave us His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
Christians need not steal. Just pray and trust that God will provide all our needs, when we are obedient to Him. When we trust God and delight in Him, He even goes way beyond our needs and gives us the true “desires of our heart”!
“Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Our Father God is the greatest Giver of all! Let us, therefore, be like our Good Father and become lavish givers, never thieves!
The eighth commandment tells us NOT to steal. The ninth commandment teaches us NOT to steal a person’s reputation or their good name by lying about them.