At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; The same is the companion of a destroyer.Proverbs 28:24
When people sin, they rationalize. Their sin makes them unrighteous, but because we were created in the image of God, we have a deep need to be righteous. Because our sin makes that impossible, we have to settle for second best, which is the appearance of righteousness. This appearance that is second best is the appearance of righteousness to ourselves. When that proves a failure, we settle for third best, which is the appearance of righteousness to others.
And that brings us to the question of theft within the family. When it happens it is really bad—so bad that the person who has done it needs to deny how bad it is to himself. The proverb envisions a situation where a child has stolen from his father or mother. Not only so, but the thief has then compounded the evil by denying that it even is an evil. He may say any number of things about it. “It is all in the family.” “I am going to inherit it anyway. This is just an advance.” “They should have paid me more in my allowance as a child.”
These, and anything like them, are simply rationalizations. It is moralistic daydreaming—wouldn’t it be nice if I were not such an awful son?
Despite all the rationalization, this is not a victimless crime. The person who does this, we are told, is the companion of a destroyer. This would indicate the parents are harmed in two ways. The first is that they are the parents of a person who is playing the fool. And the second is that they are running the risk of real financial harm. When someone first takes to skimming money, the results are often in the category of reaping the whirlwind when they thought they were simply sowing the wind. This is something that has been discovered by many an embezzler, not to mention Judas Iscariot. Helping yourself to something that is not yours is a set up for far greater disasters.
For those Christians who have in the past stolen from parents, the response should be the same as it is with all forms of theft. Regeneration, baptism, and forgiveness does not transfer ownership or title to anything. Restitution remains necessary. Whether it was twenty bucks you snagged from your mother’s purse when you were in high school, or thousands of dollars skimmed from the family business while you worked there, the fact that it was all in the family does not make restitution unnecessary. If you would not be companion to the destroyer, it is all the more necessary.