Proverbs 1:19 “So are the ways of everyone who gains unjust gain; it takes away its owners’ life. “
As a young child, I took things that weren’t mine. I was taught to steal by my older cousin who thought it was fun to relieve trusting people of their prized possessions. The first time I stole, it was fun and exciting. We ran out of the store and hid in the woods to share our spoil of candy with laughter and pride. It became a game for us to see how much we could take without getting caught. There were many unjust gains to follow: a pair of red-rimmed sunglasses, a doll, a pair of earrings, candy and even school supplies from other students’ desks at school. I would bring them home and hide them in my room and rarely touch them again for fear of getting caught with a toy or a trinket that my mother would surely know was not mine. After a while, nerves and stress possessed me and I became a nail biter. I was always looking over my shoulder and feared getting caught. The joy of it all quickly slipped away as the novelty wore off and natural consequences took their place. The children at school began to suspect me. Nobody wanted to play with me. My mother was always searching my room for evidence because the teachers suspected me too. My life became an empty shell and as I was pushed to the outer edge of the community.
Then one day, one of my personal items went missing from my desk. For the first time, I understood what it was like to be the victim. I cried. I begged the teacher to find the thief. I accused all my friends. I searched their bags. I scoured the classroom to no avail and I went home deflated and discouraged. I had never considered how my actions were hurting others, least of all, myself. I stopped stealing immediately, but it took years to rebuild those relationships and I still had lessons to learn.
In the following years, God allowed me to taste the bitterness of loss more than once. Each time I had to swallow that pill, I became more aware of the value of trust and of the satisfaction of having earned whatever I possessed.
Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal”
Our loving Father values relationships. We have previously talked about choosing friends wisely and staying away from those who would mislead us, but do you also strive to be a loyal friend? God wants us to understand that healthy relationships require trusting one other and protecting each other from harm. Being part of a loving, trusting, and Christ-centred community is worth far more than any pair of stolen sunglasses.
I pray that you will always value relationships more than possessions. I pray that you will always respect the hard work of others and refrain from stealing to acquire unjust gains. Most of all, I pray that you will trust God to provide for your needs in His time and in His way so that your greed will never take away your life. Fore more on this subject, download our FREE booklet, How to Build Godly Character.