Read Exodus 20:15
15 “You shall not steal. (NIV)
Human beings can’t be trusted. That is why we have burglar alarms, anti-shoplifting devices, deadlocks. It seems we can be tempted to take what is not ours to have. Such stealing is forbidden because it betrays trust, expresses greed, deceit, envy, laziness, pride, revenge, and violates our right to enjoy and own our property.
Some stealing is obvious and gets dealt with by the police and the law courts. Some is less obvious: we refuse to pay legitimate debts on time; we don’t work the hours we are paid; we do business dishonestly by selling inferior products or selling at inflated prices; we pilfer our employer’s property.
Perhaps even less obvious is our tendency not to share what ought to be given away. Possessing a certain thing which others are entitled to have is a form of stealing. We might argue that when very wealthy countries exploit poor countries for their own advantage, they are stealing from them by depriving them of what is rightly theirs. The Bible commanded God’s people to share resources with the needy who had rights of their own.
Thieves and robbers don’t just wear balaclavas and lurk in dark alleys. They might also wear respectable suits and Sunday smiles as they inhabit their familiar seats in church each week.