I shoplifted once. Stole a purse from a Walmart in Myrtle Beach in my senior year of high school. Funny thing is, I didn’t even really feel that bad about it at the time. I justified it by leaving the one I had walked in with in its place and convincing myself that no one would miss a cheap $10 bag anyway.
I think I started to feel guilty later and vowed never to steal again.
That is, until the advent of Napster and pirating music.
I was guilty of stealing art (because, let’s face it—that’s exactly what it is) until just last year when Jereme and I, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, came into the realization that the Ten Commandments, as well as the rest of YHWH’s Torah (instructions) are still as true and applicable to us today as they were to the crowd that stood at the base of Mt. Sinai.
As former pirates, we justified our actions with statements like:
“Musicians make all their money from live shows anyway. They’re not gonna miss the pennies they’d make if I purchased this record.”
“The entertainment industry is corrupt. They deserve to lose money, and I refuse to support it by giving them mine.”
“It’s not really stealing. I can listen to this song on YouTube for free anytime. What difference does it make if I download it?”
Then, when we realized that stealing encompassed more than shoplifting and conspiratorial thievery, we stopped. As a fellow artist, I was even more motivated to quit pirating media in particular, because I understand what goes into the creation of a piece of music. Regardless of how “corrupt” I think the industry may be, it’s simply wrong for me to steal from those who pour their time, energy, and heart into making something that I can enjoy for years to come.
I’m not perfect though, which is why I’m thankful to be in this season of searching and repentance. And as I ask YHWH to reveal to me the sin in my life that’s keeping me from fully experiencing Him and His blessings, I’d like to invite you to do the same if you’re reading this. Maybe for you, stealing looks more like the following:
- Watching YouTube videos or scrolling through Facebook for hours while on the clock
- Keeping quiet when the cashier accidentally gives you too much change
- Swiping that empty parking spot when you know the other guy right across from you had his eye on it first.
- Grabbing a stack of extra napkins at the restaurant that you know you won’t use
These may seem small in comparison to shoplifting or even pirating music. But they’re still things we should be conscious of. Even if they don’t cost money, they still cost something, whether it’s someone’s time, energy, or even their joy.
You may be thinking, “I don’t know I’m doing these things most of the time, and no one can follow the law perfectly. How can I stop stealing if I don’t even realize I’m doing it? And is it really stealing if it’s done in ignorance?”
I personally believe that we still sin, even in ignorance. Thank Yah for His grace, right? But does that mean we just throw His instructions out the window altogether and don’t even try? Keeping His commandments is how we love Him! (1 John 5:2)
Also, if we ask the Father to reveal our sin to us, He will. And we can stop sinning with the help of the Holy Spirit. Yahshua said:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14: 15-21
This post is Day 5 in my 40 Days of Repentance series. Click here to read Day 4.