Thou shalt not steal. Exodus 20:15
I remember when I was six-years-old. My older sister, about fourteen at the time, took me to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. She was instructed by my mom to buy a few things, and was given just the right amount of money for the purchase. I wanted a candy bar so badly. When we got to the register, my sister told me to put the candy back, because we didn’t have enough money. I held on to it as she paid for the groceries. Then I hid it. As my sister and I were leaving the store, she noticed I had the candy. She made me go back to the same register and give it back to the clerk, and explain what I did.
The clerk laid the law down pretty well, so that I didn’t ever think about taking candy again. She told me she should call the cops and have me arrested, and that if I did it again, she was going to see me put in jail. She also was loud enough for others in the store to hear. I was ashamed and scared of what I did. Unfortunately that was not the only time I took something that wasn’t mine. I am reminded of the sins of my youth, and ashamed of many of the things I’ve done in disobedience to men and God.
I am older now, and not always wiser, but I have no desire to take anything from anybody. I feel so much better when I can give, instead of receive. It must be Jesus in me, because my whole attitude has changed about so many things that I once did. There are things I cannot fix or make restitution for. It is then, that I know that Jesus has the power to forgive, heal, and restore. He even has the power to remove the “guilt of my sin”.
Psalm 51 is so comforting to read when we know the extent of our sins, and want God to cleanse us.
Psalm 51 King James Version (KJV)
51 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
In Luke 19, we find the story of Zaccheaus. He was a tax-collector, and a wealthy man. He obtained his wealth by over-taxing, and keeping the profit. When Jesus called out to Him, and He wanted to please the Lord, Zaccheaus told Jesus that he would give half his possessions to the poor, and pay back four times the amount that he cheated anyone out of. He wanted to make restitution for the wrongs he committed. Zaccheaus’s life was forever changed by Jesus.
Lord, I pray for forgiveness. I have taken things that didn’t belong to me. I have broken many of Your commandments in disobedience, and rebelliousness. I ask for Your mercy and forgiveness. Wash me, make me clean, have mercy on me, a sinner. Please hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Thank You!