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  • Writer's pictureBrian Fuller

Klepto: A Modern Parable



Confession: I love to steal.

I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't experience the overpowering, irresistible urge to take something that wasn't mine. Confession: I love to steal. The conflict is real. I have always known stealing was wrong, but I couldn't resist the strong impulse to swipe stuff. To make matters worse, when I "came out" to my friends and family that I was a thief, they looked down on me. I felt their judgmental spirit. And, I noticed they kept an open eye on their possessions when I was around. At nearly every gathering, I felt condemned and isolated, simply because I was, apparently, the only one who struggled with stealing stuff anytime (SSA).


Christians were the worst! Any time I would be in their company, it seemed they would clobber me over the head with the half-dozen Bible verses that banned stealing. The only true community I could find was a stealing support group, where I connected with others with the same, overwhelming desire to take things that didn't belong to them. They were like family.

Then, everything changed. I was saved. I became a born-again, Christian. I must have been the most unlikely convert ever! Well, I should have said, that almost everything changed. Even though I was saved, to my dismay, the compulsion to steal stuff anytime (SSA) remained within me. But, the first church I joined after my conversion, Affirming Community Chapel, told me that I didn't need to feel bad about my remaining urges to steal. They said that those clobber passages of Scripture that "Bible-thumpers" used didn't condemn stealing after all. According to these spiritual leaders, some things were hidden in the original languages indicating the writers of Scripture were talking about a different kind of thievery than the kind I struggled with. The message was confusing to me, but clear: you can be a Christian and keep on stealing as long as you commit to only stealing from the same person until death you part. Huh?


Even though I was saved, to my dismay, the compulsion to steal stuff anytime (SSA) remained within me.

I quickly became disillusioned with this church, mainly because my heart was still condemning me for stealing, even more than when I was an unbeliever. I soon found a new church family, The Name-It-And-Claim-It Church. They told me all those "clobber verses" were true, (which I already sensed on the inside) but that God could deliver me from all of my stealing stuff anytime (SSA) if I asked in faith. They laid hands on me and prayed for me. I also took a 10-week conversion therapy course called, "From Thievery to Philanthropy." After all of the hype, I continued to struggle with stealing stuff anytime. (SSA) They had promised complete deliverance, but I must have been the one exception. I became sad and discouraged.


As long as I didn't steal, I could think about stealing other people's stuff, and even identify as a thief.


You got it. I started church-shopping again. Amazingly, I found what I thought was the perfect church, Identity Church. This church confirmed what my heart had been saying all along, stealing is a sin. However, they taught me something different about my desire to steal stuff anytime (SSA). The message at Identity Church was that I was made in the image of God, and that included my desire to steal stuff anytime. (SSA) This was part of my nature, my identity. And, because I was born, or oriented this way from birth, I should not try to change it, but rather embrace it as my true identity. They created a name for my identity. (I found out later that they got it from Freud and Darwin) I was told that my identity was Klepto-Oriented. And, they said I should refer to myself as a "Stealing Christian." This was mind-blowing! As long as I didn't steal, I could think about stealing other people's stuff, and even identify as a thief. Other members of the church were given hospitality protocols about how to bring up the topic of stealing when they were around any of us who made up the "Stealing Christians Community." One bit baffled me, though. Why didn't other sins that people struggled with in the church get a special name and identity? Why was stealing the only one?

I soon hit rock bottom at Identity Church. I discovered the more I was told my SSA was my identity and the more I hung around with other Stealing Christians, the more intense my desire to steal stuff anytime (SSA) became. Thankfully, and it's all of God's grace, in a moment of despair, I had a friend invite me to Spirit Mortification Community Church.


At this church, I learned that not only was my stealing a sin, but my desire to steal stuff anytime (SSA) was too. The Bible teaches that both my deeds and my desires need to be mortified (put to death) by the power of the Spirit through the Word. They called this "progressive sanctification" and they were clear that my stealing stuff anytime (SSA) was no exception. As crazy as this sounds, this was the first moment I remember good news about my struggle! There was hope in the gospel! So, while stealing is a huge part of my biography, it is not my identity! And, as I grow in Christ-likeness, the struggle with stealing stuff anytime (SSA) is certainly still present, but it's becoming less and less powerful in my life. Praise be to God! I am so happy to report that I am observing it die a slow death through the power of the Gospel and the Spirit! (Colossians 3:5-10)


I learned that not only was my stealing a sin, but my desire to steal stuff anytime (SSA) was too. The Bible teaches that both my deeds and my desires need to be mortified (put to death) by the power of the Spirit through the Word.

Needless to say, I have no plans to look for a new church any time soon!






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1 Comment


wayne.applegate
6 days ago

So, you're a Y type then. 😎

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