It’s Valentine’s Day…a day when men cringe in case they have flubbed when buying the ‘Oh, so important gift, for their loved one.’ A day which revolves around cards, chocolates, diamonds, and romantic efforts that sprang from…..a tradition that men fought better if they were single, and martyred Saints? (You know, someone really should look into how these legends start!)
For some reason, Elton John’s song: DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART, came to mind today. It’s a great tune for humming and as we are off to the CARDIOLOGIST (heart doctor on Valentine’s Day? How appropriate!) But as our topic today revolves around theft, I decided to skip the trauma of ‘breaking’ and insert the drama of ‘stealing’.
Exodus 20:15–Thou shalt not steal.
That is a pretty simple instruction on the surface of things. It becomes more complicated, however, when you read ‘Les Misérables’ by Victor Hugo or attend the magnificant Broadway theatre production of same.
Here we see ‘law and order’ face down mercy–from Jean Valjean who has been imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread for a hungry child, to the priest who, rather than allow Valjean be rearrested for stealing candlesticks GIFTS them to the felon with the admonition to use them to turn his life around. We see Javert whose mission in life is to capture and bring down Valjean…to the point where he would rather commit suicide himself rather than see that a man can be reformed. Then there is Fantine whose troubles begin when a co-worker steals the letter revealing Fantine has a child. And what about all those men who steal the dignity and very essence of life from a woman forced by circumstance onto the streets?
Yes, the idea of stealing, or theft, permeates this beloved musical..even as it does in every culture still today. We know stealing is wrong. To take what belongs to another, even for the best of reasons brings repercussions from laws both religious and regulatory.
Perhaps, that is why Jesus illustrated that Christians really OWN nothing without God. Luke 6: 27–But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Yikes! Valentines, candy, chocolates, diamonds, gifts…we can all deliver on that. LOVING OUR ENEMIES…um…Thank you, but no. No thanks. I mean, this one is pretty darn tough. Even ATTEMPTING to try this is a thankless task. That would mean loving some pretty unloveable people. That would mean realizing that we really ‘own’ nothing of ourselves.
You shall not steal…easy peasy.
You shall allow everything in, and of you, to be stolen for MY sake.
Would that we remember this Valentine’s Day that our hearts should be given to the Son. His instructions are clear…hold onto nothing but ME.
I (Jesus) am all you really need…
Don’t let the world ‘steal’ your heart today.