Most people understand that certain things belong to certain people, and cannot be taken without their permission. However, some find that their inability to acquire things honestly, along with a strong impulse to simply “have” those things, drives them into taking them dishonestly. The problem is that in stealing from others, the individual most harms his own health and happiness.
The Risks of Stealing
The individual who fails to respect others’ ownership of things will often find that his own possessions and property are at great risk, as is his sanity. He is constantly obsessed with keeping his own things safe, even while he takes things from others without their permission, and the price he pays for this is far beyond what he can possibly imagine. Instead of simply acquiring things “for free”, the thief quickly learns that he is actually giving up his peace of mind and freedom. Whether the individual who steals from others is actually caught and placed in prison for his crimes against society, he is certainly in a sort of prison in his mind–constantly worried that he will be caught. Even if he honestly believes that no one really owns anything, as many thieves do, he yet knows deep inside that what he is doing is against the basic mores of the society. And because of this, he feels that he must hide. Perhaps he spends his life in hideouts, or perhaps he can never truly enjoy the “spoils” of his actions because he must keep them hidden for fear of being “found out”, but no thief is truly free or happy.
People who are sane, happy, well-educated and capable don’t normally turn to stealing in order to acquire those things that they feel they need or want. They understand that life can be hard and that it is full of ups and downs, but they also understand that if they work hard and have strong support from others who care for them, they can honestly acquire whatever they may desire. This means that those who choose to steal are either admitting that they lack the self-confidence, self-respect and know-how to make it honestly, or that they are not actually entirely sane. Either way, it’s quite clear that those who choose to steal are not living happy, fulfilling lives and they are constantly haunted by the fact that their own actions are steadily stealing their mental or physical freedom away from them.