HAL BRADY: Are we becoming a society of thieves?

FAITH: Stealing has become a commonplace act in America

Hal Brady

Hal Brady

Think about it! What is the crime most often committed in our communities? In our nation? Around the world? My best guess is theft. So many people feel that stealing has become a very commonplace crime of society. If the thief does not assault or kill the victim , he/she is simply called a “common thief.”

Not long ago, I was having lunch with a friend. He stated his truck had been stolen a few years ago. Following that theft, he bought a new truck and had a special alarm system put in it. Since that time no less than 15 attempts have been made to steal his new truck.

Recently, my older son called and said, “While we were at the ball game, my wife’s van was broken into. They broke out the window and stole her billfold. We have been canceling credit cards.”

These incidents, plus numerous others that I know of or have heard about, have caused me to ask a question, “Are we becoming a society of thieves?” Before we answer, perhaps we should look at some of the less obvious forms of theft.

First, there’s the theft of time! When we hire on to do a job, we usually hire on to do so much work for so much pay. It may be a verbal or written contract, but the agreement is there. But then the employee begins arriving late or leaving early, or both. And what about the wasting of time or the lack of maximum effort while on the job?

Second, there’s the theft of reputation! Leroy Brownlow in his book “Grandpa Was A Preacher” shared this incident. He said grandpa had one of his flock complain about the inattention of another member.

She said, “When you talk to her, it just goes in at one ear and out at the other. Can you think of anything as bad as that?”

“Yes,” grandpa says, “If it went in at one ear and out at the mouth,”

How deadly and ruinous untruths can be! Just a few careless words and a reputation is ruined.

Third, there’s the theft of honesty! I read of a professor who was giving a freshman math quiz and made this statement: “Today, I am going to give you two examinations, one in trigonometry and one in honesty. But if you must fail one, let it be trigonometry.” Of course, that professor was implying that honesty counts more, but sadly, if the reports are accurate, not everybody in our society is in agreement.

For sure, there are other forms of theft, but I think you already understand. Are we becoming a society of thieves?

The Rev. Hal Brady is an ordained United Methodist minister and executive director of Hal Brady Ministries, based in Atlanta. He can be seen at 8 p.m. Thursdays on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting TV channel.