I have found it interesting the way an article or two have tried to rationalise shoplifting after a recent cautioning of a prominent TV chef. I’ve seen comments that have suggested that it’s possibly due to:

  • depression or traumatic loss
  • the desire to feel like they can exert control
  • the desire for the addictive adrenaline rush
  • imbalanced life experiences (referring to dealing constantly with loss) so they either can’t cope or it’s a coping mechanism
  • necessity – not the issue in this case, due to poverty
  • being plain ill, because such behaviour must be down to an illness, e.g. “When wealthy and famous people steal, it’s an illness and a reason to feel sorry for them.”

I’m interested as I’ve seen this last one particularly before. Having a discussion friend we were talking about the role of law and the judiciary system. When I mentioned some of those perceived as the worst criminals, such as serial killers or the like, the friend rationalised it by suggesting that there must be something wrong – perhaps psychologically – with those individuals. So comes from the idea that man must be inherently good.

But, if you take the Christian view that man is fundamentally a sinner, then such actions make sense. Why else would someone act in the moment in a way that they outside that moment cannot understand?
Outside the moment, they are not tempted to the sin. They look at their own actions and it doesn’t make sense.
In the moment, they are tempted to sin. They think they can get away with it (even if this requires suppressing what they know is true) but only in the moment. The truth is suppressed, thanks to their own sinful desires, and so afterwards they can’t understand it.

Man is tempted to sin, and in bondage to the flesh. We do what we sinfully WANT, if we think we can get away with it and if God’s restraining grace is removed only slightly. Simple as that. We need liberation from sin by the atoning blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit entering in to grant power to prevail over sin and the flesh.

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