What exactly is stealing? The Hebrew word for steal, ganab, means "the act of taking property from another without permission and in secret; the misappropriation of property; the secret taking of another’s property without the owner’s knowledge or permission; taking something that does not belong to you (Mark Rooker). The Dake Reference Bible says, "This commandment prohibits secret and open removal of the property of another, any injury done to it, and carelessness about that which belongs to a neighbor."
In in the United States, property theft occurs in some form every three seconds! (J. Holbert, The Ten Commandments, p. 8.)
Consider the many different form of stealing:
- Burglary (breaking into a home or building to commit theft);
- Robbery (taking property directly from another using violence or intimidation);
- Larceny (taking something without permission and not returning it)
- Hijacking (using force to take goods in transit or seizing control of a bus, truck, plane, etc.);
- Shoplifting (taking items from a store during business hours without paying for them);
- Pilfering (stealing things of relatively little value)
- Pickpocketing and purse-snatching.
- Embezzlement (the fraudulent taking of money or other goods entrusted to one’s care);
- Extortion (getting money from someone by means of threats or misuses of authority);
- Racketeering (obtaining money by any illegal means).
- Tax evasion (the non-payment or underpayment of tax).
- Fraud (wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain).
The eighth commandment teaches four big ideas about money:
- It is immoral to steal from others.
- It is immoral for others to steal form you.
- You have the right to own private property.
- You must acquire money and possessions honorably. There are four ways to do this:
- Work: Provide a service or a product that people value enough to purchase.
Why is stealing wrong? Two reasons:
- When you steal, you are not trusting God to meet your needs.
- When you steal, you are robbing your neighbor of God's provision for them.
Common Forms of Theft
1) Ways people steal from their neighbor:
- Destruction of another's property.
- Borrowing and not repaying. Ps 37:21; Rom 13:8
- Voting for the redistribution of wealth.
- Illegal streaming and downloading.
2) Ways people steal from their job.
- Not doing your best. Col 3:23
- Stealing money and supplies.
- Wasting time.
- Stealing time.
3) Ways people steal from their family.
- Not disciplining your kids.
- Stealing money and possessions from others in your family.
- Neglecting your marriage.
- Not honoring your parents.
4) Ways people steal from God.
- Not tithing. Mal 3:10
- Not making church attendance a priority.
- Not volunteering.
What is the opposite of stealing?
Generosity. Using your extra resources to help the needy. 1 Tim 6:18
The Cure for Stealing
- Believe that everything belongs to God. Ps 24:1
- Commit to good stewardship.
- Start tithing.
- Be generous.
- Work hard to earn a good living.
- Be content with what God has given you.
- Be faithful with the little things.