“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”
Ephesians 4:28 (NKJV)
Have you ever been a victim of a burglary or had your bag stolen? This has happened to me twice—once a thief entered our home in the middle of the night and took my handbag with house and car keys, credit cards, money, camera, phone, etc.; and recently a thief made off with our carry-on bag containing laptop computer, ipad and Kindle, as well as other items.
It makes you feel vulnerable and suspicious of everyone around you; it makes you feel guilty and angry that you didn’t take extreme precautions; it disrupts your life, costs you time, money, anxiety and inconvenience; it may make you cry out to God and say, “Why is this happening?”
God can always bring good from every bad thing, and so we can also pause and take a different perspective:
*It could have been worse—in my case, we were not harmed or injured physically; we didn’t lose our livlihood or life savings. In the case of the stolen handbag my prayers were answered when keys and credit cards were returned in a carry bag found hanging on our front door! In the case of the stolen luggage, we still had our passports, money, credit cards and others important items.
*There are others worse off, perhaps who live in poverty and do not have such things as the valuables that were stolen from you; so you appreciate what you have all the more.
*You remember all the times you were protected and blessed in the past, and give God thanks and praise.
If you let anger and revenge take hold, you only harm yourself. It is like taking arsenic and expecting the other person to die. Proverbs 14:30 says “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” Let the grace (unmerited pardon) of God and his forgiveness (Jesus Christ, as they were crucifying him, said forgive them for they know not what they do) fill your mind. Paul urges in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Vengeance will eat you up—heed the advice in Romans 12:17-21 where God says, “Vengeance is mine…I will repay.”
Unfortunately in most cases of burglary or theft, it is not the poor who steal, but those with a wicked heart and no fear of God. If you are a thief reading this, pause to consider the consequences of your actions—its long-lasting psychological effect on others, and the hardening, uncaring effect on yourself. Turn to God, who will supply all your needs, and who will forgive and help you to turn your life around. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
And so I pray, merciful Father, that you will work in the hearts of those who steal, causing injury, trauma and unhappiness to their fellowmen, that you would work on their hearts and minds to instill a healthy and productive guilty attitude that will lead them to restore what they have taken, to repent of this lifestyle and lead them to know you—to come to Christianity and turn to a life of giving and serving others.
Study by Nancy Silcox
About the Author:
Nancy Silcox attends the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK. Nancy prepares and uploads the Day by Day studies submitted by members of the Worldwide Church of God UK/Grace Communion International.
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Herts. WD24 7HF
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