Why does God forbid stealing?

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Humorist Boyce House told the story of a Texas lawyer who asked his rough-looking client if he knew what an alibi was. "Yes," said the client, "that's when I can prove I was somewheres else when I stole the horse."

My friends don't have any alibis for stealing, but many have reasons why we should respect the property of others. Brittany, age 9, says, "God wants us to be happy with what we have." Nathan, 11, adds: "Stealing is wrong because it is actually coveting. So you are breaking two commandments."

Good thinking. If you're content with what God has given, how can you become a thief? Keep your heart free from wanting other people's possessions by resting in God's provision, and you won't be tempted to steal.

Stealing is "mean," says Heather, 10. "It's just like stealing God's things. It makes God sad when we steal, and the people we steal from."

Most thieves would never associate stealing from people with stealing from God. If we're created in God's image, the way we treat each other is a reflection of our relationship with God. If we have a relationship with God, we will respect his image in people, and that includes fruit of their labor.

"If you think nobody saw you, think again because God sees everything you do," says Casey, 10.

Furthermore, Beth, 10, adds, "When people steal, their conscience bothers them."

Do you have a problem sleeping at night? Try returning the extra $15 you received when you paid with a $5 and the store clerk thought you gave him a $20.

"But I didn't steal it."

Listen to the Apostle James: "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). Oops. If you've failed to act after sensing God's promptings in your heart, you know that sinking feeling of robbing someone of a blessing.

Kacey, 11, looks to the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Some have perverted this into "Do unto others before they do it unto you."

"We should not steal because we didn't work for it," says Lee, 9. "The other person worked for it."

Work has dignity, and it should be respected. If you want to see God at work, read Genesis 1 and enjoy the golden hues of a sunset.

Some have viewed work as part of the curse God pronounced upon the Earth after Adam and Eve sinned. But God told Adam to "tend and keep" the garden before he ate of the forbidden fruit. Once Adam sinned, however, work became more difficult because God cursed the Earth.

Although Adam and Eve lost paradise, it took a thief to show us the way back. Almost 2,000 years ago, one thief scolded another for mocking an innocent man condemned to die with them. "We are getting what we deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong," said one thief to another.

Jesus turned to the thief who had defended him and said, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

The thief didn't steal his way into paradise but simply believed in the Son of God. You can, too.

Think about this: Be content with God's provision for you.

Remember this truth: "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Ask this question: Are you content with God's provision? Do you respect the work and property God has entrusted to others?

Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost. To receive Kids Talk About God three times a week in a free, email subscription, visit

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