The Criminal's Belief System

“I Was Desperate.”

It's a common belief that if you do the crime, you should do the time.  And why not? If you have made the decision to commit a crime — no matter what that crime is — then you should be punished for the pain, suffering, and financial loss you have caused victims and their families.  But there is a disproportionate number of crimes being committed today by single mothers recently. These women are resorting to crime just to provide basic needs for their family, and crimes of this type are now being referred to as "crimes of desperation.”

As the slumping economy has taken its toll on people's lives, police departments all across the country are reporting a jump in crimes of desperation including robberies, burglaries, car thefts and shoplifting.  They’re seeing homeless transients who are sleeping on park benches, hungry, and cold trying to get arrested - simply as a way to come in out of the cold and get a few free meals.  They’re seeing an increase in “white collar” crime by people with relatively easy access to enormous amounts of money, who feel compelled to embezzle funds to clear up a pressing financial obligation.

Another common scenario is the drug addict who is in desperate need of money for his next fix.  He decides the quickest way to get money is to hold up a convenience store.  As he’s demanding cash from the check-out clerk, a customer confronts him and, feeling threatened, he shoots the customer impulsively.

We’ve all seen TV shows where a compulsive gambler owes a large amount of money to some organized crime organization.  He’s been warned that he better pay off the ever-growing loan or get his knees broken. So he kills his wife or burns down his own house for the insurance money.

These are sobering times that we live in today.  Many people have lost their jobs and can’t find another one.  Others are underemployed and are just barely making it.  The unemployment rate is soaring, the stock market is highly volatile, and famine is spreading worldwide. People who commit crimes of desperation are in crisis mode.  They feel they have run out of options. They commit crimes to resolve what seems to be an unresolvable predicament. 

The spiritual issue with committing a crime in a desperate situation is that we are taking matters into our own hands, instead of trusting God to bring us through.

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