There’s more than one way to steal from people

The Eighth Commandment tells us plainly, “You shall not steal.”

It’s amazing how many ways people can come up with to rip others off. There are well more than 130 synonyms for stealing. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

One of the ways people choose to steal is by deceiving their customers.

Amos 8:5 says, “You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales.” Does that sound familiar?

It reminds me of when a repairman makes unnecessary repairs or a doctor runs unnecessary tests or when someone sells a car but they don’t tell the buyer the truth about the car they are selling. If you do these kinds of things, you are deceiving the customer, and that’s a form of stealing.

Defrauding employers is another way people steal. This can include everything from padding your expense account to taking home supplies, equipment or merchandise that does not belong to you.

Human beings are the masters of justifying their behavior. We decide the company owes us, so we balance accounts by taking things that don’t belong to us. Would you be willing to explain what you have done or what you are doing to your boss? Do you think he will buy what you are selling?

Defrauding your employer also could include wasting time on the job or cutting corners on your hours. Perhaps you were paid for 40 hours, but you really only worked 30. If you’re being paid for a certain amount of time and you come in late, leave early, take three coffee breaks and a long lunch, there really isn’t a whole lot of time left in the day.

Colossians 3:23 reminds us to “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Defrauding your employer is stealing. Don’t do it.

Another form of stealing is when we default on a loan. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow and never repay…” Many people borrow money they have no intention of paying back.

This is often the case when loans are made to friends and relatives. And this is not just about bankruptcy or defaulting on a loan. It really applies to anything borrowed (tools, punch bowls, DVDs, etc.).

Is there anything in your garage you need to return to the rightful owner? How about in your closet or somewhere else in your house?

Next time, we’ll explore more ways people have found to steal.

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at or you can email him at [email protected].