Stealing was my biggest struggle when I was growing up. Looking back I can laugh at my antics, but when it was a reality, it wasn’t so funny. There are many reasons why I stole; some were because I felt like I needed to hoard food as much as possible. I swore to myself I would never go hungry again when I came to America, so I stole at the first hint of hunger. I also stole because it was fun. I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense to parents who are driven crazy by this nasty habit, but stealing for me was an adventure. I also stole as a way of punishing my parents when I was angry at them or when I had just been punished.
Stealing was a huge problem for me and I honestly tried to stop. I would go about two days and I would be back stealing again. I would be overwhelmed by the feeling of total personal failure at my attempts to control myself. I thought I was a really messed up human being who couldn’t stop herself from stealing a cookie even when I saw how much my behavior hurt my family.
As I have been working through issues from my past with God, He impressed on my heart that it was time to deal with this issue. You may not know this, but God completely understands theft. The very first sin ever committed was food theft! Adam and Eve ate the fruit from a tree God told them specifically not to and broke their relationship with God. (Genesis 3) Even one of Jesus’ twelve disciples was a thief. He stole money regularly from the group and in the end betrayed Jesus.(John 12: 1-6) Jesus never sits down to have a chat with Judas about how stealing was wrong, instead he went straight to the root of the problem.
“For out of the Heart of a man come evil thoughts, murder, adultery sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander.” (Mathew 15:19)
I have discovered that stealing isn’t the core problem; it is the result of a heart problem. I may have grown out of stealing, but it doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with more mature problems that come up when I don’t keep my heart in check.
So how do you and I get help for our hearts? We have to go back to the one who designed and gave us our hearts, God.
“My son, [my daughter] give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.” (Proverbs 23: 26)
“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
If you struggle with stealing and are trying to break your arm to make yourself stop, I suggest work on your heart. Am I saying stealing is right? No. I am saying if you don’t fix the root of the problem you will never be able to stop and you will drive yourself crazy trying. Believe me, I know from personal experience!!
God understands our hearts, and today He wants us to trust Him enough to hand over the jumbled pieces.
“May the word of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.”(Psalm 19:14)