Why do people steal?

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Liberal ideology tries to convince us that most people steal because they need what they take to survive.  But that is unmitigated nonsense and does not account for the wickedness that is bound up in the heart of every man, woman, and child, including my own.  No, people do not steal because they need something.  That is a secular socialist myth.  People steal because they want something, whether they need it or not.  More often than not, they don’t need it at all.

And the act of stealing is always justified in the eyes of the thief through a process of self-vindicating rationalization which suggests that not only did the person or organization not need what was taken, but perhaps the bandit actually deserved to possess it instead.

But beyond such excuse-making, it seems St. Augustine was right when he wrote this in his Confessions about stealing pears from a neighbor’s orchard: “[I]t was not the fruit that gave me pleasure, I must have got it from the crime itself . . . .”

The bald fact of the matter is that in a world marred by sin, stealing is, for human beings, fun.  It’s the thrill of obtaining the illicit, the forbidden, the impermissible.  Burglary brings a brigand much more than bread.  It brings him bliss.  As Proverbs 9:17 puts it, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

This subtle love of wickedness is what makes it so necessary for us to find our hope and joy in nothing more or less than the matchless love of Jesus Christ.  He died between two thieves and gave His life away that He might steal from us our sin-tainted lives and fully cleanse us from every blot and stain.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift, for His gift cannot be stolen but only humbly and gratefully accepted.

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