When you steal items from an open business, it’s called shoplifting. Merchandise stolen in this way tends to be small and easily concealed. The most commonly lifted items include clothes, cosmetics, disposable razor blades, electronics, non-prescription drugs, and alcohol.

Why do people shoplift? Because of peer pressure, the feeling of excitement while planning and doing the shoplifting, and having an urgent need without the money. Some people justify their theft as getting back at retailers, but businesses pass their shoplifting losses on to all consumers, raising prices proportionally. A small minority of shoplifters do so because of an impulse control disorder called kleptomania, which causes a compulsive urge to steal.

The eighth commandment says, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15). Besides, shoplifting is considered a serious violation of local laws. Those caught may be arrested, prosecuted, and banned from shopping areas. Though shoplifting may seem a minor thing, like all crime, it starts out small and can grow into a lifetime of moral and ethical lapses. A criminal record can also affect one’s future, such as when applying for a job.

If you are invited to shoplift, be prepared to offer a strong answer: “I think it is wrong to steal from anyone,” “I can live without that stuff,” or “I prefer to earn the money and then pay for it.”

If you feel compelled to steal due to lack of resources, remember Jesus’ encouraging words: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt. 6:25-26)