As a Christian, I believe people shouldn’t steal. I believe it’s against the will of God for them to steal. But I believe God still offers them grace. That grace covers their guilt for stealing in the past and gives them the power not to succumb to that temptation again.
If there were some kind of movement to legalize theft (yes, we could get into all the forms of “theft” that already are legal), I honestly don’t think I’d get too embroiled in it. The state can make its decisions. It’s not a Christian state.
I believe some people are born more naturally inclined towards theft than others. We have a name for it: kleptomania. I know those people will have a much more difficult time refraining from theft than I will. But I still believe they shouldn’t. And I know it will be harder for them, so I have compassion on them, not disdain.
I don’t have hatred in my heart for people who steal, or for people who are tempted to steal. I believe God calls me to love them, and I want to do my best to do that. But I do believe they shouldn’t steal.
I really don’t believe I’m a bigot for believing that people shouldn’t steal. I’ll happily listen to the opinions of a thief, including his opinions about why he should keep on stealing, even though I doubt I’ll come to agree. And in that conversation, I would have it as a goal to understand where he’s coming from and recognize the difficulties he goes through in this world by having a natural inclination toward something others call sinful.
But I would also have it as a goal to convince him to stop stealing, to offer him support and counsel and resources.
Most importantly: I don’t believe this person’s first identity is as a thief. I know that is a large part of how he will be seen, how he will stand out in society, how he will struggle to get along in our society. But I believe his primary identity is as a child of God. And I want to love him that way. Just as God does. If he continues stealing, I’ll pray that he finds a way to stop. And I believe God will actively offer him grace to stop, as well.
4 thoughts on “Stealing”
Thanks for posting, Teddy. Well said and with much more grace than I have ever read on this topic before.