Deuteronomy 5:19 says this, “You shall not steal.” (NIV)
It’s a simple message, few short words, so why is this such a rampant problem today?
When it came to my baby brother the verse probably should have looked more like this for him, “Thou shall not steal” But that’s exactly what he did. And not just once, but a few times.
Twenty plus years ago, my baby brother stole a car and drove it from Florida to California. I think its safe and accurate to say that he was having a difficult time staying honest and true. We all know people like that don’t we? Perhaps you are reading this and you have done something just as outrageous. Then again maybe not.
But here’s a young guy when for reasons only known to him and God stole these cars and drove west. What always amazed me about this is how he got out there with little or no money and how no one ever caught him. California isn’t exactly around the corner from the local Farm stores. You do remember the Farm stores?
Back then there were no cell phones. He always seem to slip away unnoticed until it was too late to catch up with him. Months would go by before we would hear from him and by then the cars would be gone. Some how he would make his way back to Florida. We didn’t communicate much with him during those times because it was hard on us as a family. He was a grown man making decisions that would affect his future and no matter what we did to help him, he continued to make his own decisions because he knew what was best for him or so he thought.
I remember the time he rode in a car loaded on a train car all the way from Virginia to Florida. When they reached Florida and unloaded the cars from the train, my brother helped unload the car he had been riding in and drove it off the train car and out to California.
Who does stuff like that? My baby brother.
There was another time he took his beater car into a car dealership for repairs, convinced them to give him a rental car and drove it to California never to look back.
Who does stuff like that? My baby brother.
Yet another was a time when his car had been repossessed for failure to make payments and he went and stole it back and drove to California.
His choices to steal caused us all pain, a pain he never knew he caused.
There are choices that people make in this life that cause others pain and they either don’t care or don’t realize it. I believe God gave us the Ten Commandments for a reason. Imagine with me for a moment if God had not given those commandments to us. This world we live in would be a lawless nation. People every where would be suffering and in ways we cannot comprehend.
What choices are you making today that are causing pain or harm to others? It’s funny because we all have our own idea of what this looks like. In some of those ideas, our choices are hurting no one. In others we feel our choices are justified. In others we feel we are deserving. Still in others we live in denial. We have ignored the commandment from God. We come up with our own Webster’s dictionary version of it to fit our situation.
Its not until we come face to face with what we are doing that we will see change. We must confess our wrongs, not only to those around us, but ultimately and most importantly to the maker of the heavens and earth, God. We must confess our sins to a just God who is faithful and true to forgive us our sin. Then we must turn from our ways (repent) and move forward making an effort to draw closer to God each and every day, dropping the old self and taking on the new self in Christ Jesus.
Did I lose you just then? If I did and you don’t know what that means, please, please reply back to this email and let me know. I care about you that much my friend, but God cares about you even more.
Father, while I can look back and chuckle sometimes over the things my baby brother did, I’m not insensitive enough to know he caused pain. But father I know you forgave him when he confessed his sins to you a few years back. Lord if anyone reading this today is struggling with stealing or causing others pain, help them to be brave and ask you for forgiveness, repent and turn from their way and draw closer to you. Help them to experience what I already know to be true in my own life, you are faithful and true, a loving God who longs to draw his children closer to himself. It’s never too late Lord, it’s never too late . In Jesus name I pray, amen.
In His Service