Thou Shalt Not Steal

I know there are all kinds of illegal robbery going around.  I even had a would be thief walk into my house one night with a .45.  Fortunately,  he decided to leave when our two big dogs confronted him.

However, I would suspect, maybe, a bigger problem might be legal robbery.  It happens all the time.  We read about it in the papers and we hear about it on the radio.  From time to time, a story is even on the TV.  Someone robs someone and no one can do a thing.  The theft is completely within the law.

I can’t prove it, but I have heard that legal theft is not new.  In the day that our Savior walked this earth, there were lawyers who accepted fees from widows in the hope they would receive help.  The lawyer provided very little help and abandoned her the moment her money ran out.

The priests refused to accept a sheep for sacrifices because of defects.  However, they did accept the lamb and money in exchange for a lamb that was acceptable.  Of course, everyone knew that the acceptable sheep was acquired from a man, maybe the day before, and the sheep the priest received in payment would be sold to a man in a day or two.

Only Temple currency was permitted for offering at the Temple.  Naturally, there were money changers at the Temple that could take in any form of currency, in exchange for Temple currency.  Naturally, for this, they took exorbitant fees.

The only time I know of where Jesus became somewhat violent was when he chased the thieves from His Temple, as he said, “You have made My Father’s House a den of thieves.”  Because of this, regardless of anything else, we know that there were thieves in the Temple.  We also know that it was likely legal thievery.  Otherwise, they would have been tossed in prison.  Instead they stole right out in open sight.

In the story of The Good Samaritan, Jesus also spoke of thieves that used force.  However, I get the impression he hated the legal thieves more than those who used force.  This is especially true for those who stole in His Father’s Name.

In the operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, “The Pirates of Penzance,” the pirate king says he is more honest than the businessman.  When he hoists The Jolly Roger, everyone knows what he is about.  The businessman hides behind his nice suit and respectability and steals even more than the pirate.

Indeed, history is full of those who have used their offices or businesses to steal.  Unfortunately, most of these have succeeded.  They never went to prison.  To this day, some are still respected.  I am not going to go through all I know.  It would take a book.

Let me just mention a few.  Jackson stole land from the Indians.  His picture is on the twenty-dollar bill.  Many, after The Civil War, went down into the south to plunder.  Lincoln tried to stop this but was assassinated.  The pole tax and literacy laws grew from this.  The KKK was not formed to kill the Blacks, but to stop the carpetbaggers.  Eventually, the ransacking resulted in the “Solid South.”

Speaker of the House Hastert made a really great land deal because of inside info.  Most of us would have gone to jail for that, or at least paid a big fine.  There is no telling how much thievery the Clintons were involved in.  Many congressional members made millions off of books that were never read.  It is a left-handed method of bribery.  The Bible has much to say about that (bribery) as well.  Maybe, a few of you remember the house post office and banking system.  (Eventually, that did end in the incarceration of one man, though hundreds were guilty.)

Perhaps the most prevalent form of legal thievery is welfare.  This is where perfectly healthy man or woman draws money under the guise of inability to earn money.  In truth they steal, not only from the feds, but, in truth, from people who really need welfare.  This they with clear conscience because, by George, it’s legal.  Moreover, there are some in the federal government that encourage such activity.  Indeed, the bureaucracy depends on the welfare system; so they encourage the robbery, knowing it is dishonest.  They are all members of a den of thieves and they know it.

May I use my imagination for just a moment?  What would happen if all of a sudden the Lord took all those who actually work for living from this country.  I think, possibly, we are talking major panic.  However, if one day, people in this country get tired of working so that others can sit on their tails doing nothing, they, those who do the work, just might stop working.  The effect would be the same.

The fact is thievery is thievery no matter what euphemisms you put on it.  Those that steal are thieves and those that encourage them are just as guilty.  Whether it is done at the point of a knife or as the result of some land grab, the thieves will answer for their sins.  After all, the Lord did say, “Thou shalt not steal.”  I don’t think he made any exceptions for those who hide behind the law.  Those of you who practice law should take note of this.  (I wonder how many have become multimillionaires because of the tobacco judgement.  I wonder how many are now living in mansions because of asbestos… or baby powder.  What percentage of our doctor bills are for paying lawyer’s fees?  How many useful products will never make it to the marketplace because someone is afraid of the lawyers?

By the way, Jesus’ story of The Good Samaritan was a reply to a Lawyer’s question, “Who is our neighbor?”  Even back then, they were looking for loopholes.  The fact is that sometimes the law gets in the way of doing things that are good.  Sometimes the law encourages those who do things that are bad.

The question is, what do we do about it?  Let’s start by electing good honest people to public office.  Personally, I think it would be a good idea to make sure they are Christian.  Personally, I think it would be a good idea to elect people who have the courage and conviction to be publicly pro-life.  I think maybe it would be a good idea if our representatives are not thieves or encourage thievery, regardless of the form it takes.  If we would occasionally throw thieves in public office in jail, it would help.  If we don’t, this nation is headed for a train wreck.

The Lord has blessed this nation from its birth.  Why should He continue His blessings on a nation that treats Him and his people so badly?  He doesn’t need to pronounce judgement on a crooked nation.  It is a natural result.  No nation can survive when its citizens look the other way while legal murder and robbery abound.  This is true even for atheist nations.  Why should we be better?

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