Can anyone steal from God? Is Malachi serious? If we are thinking of a sin of commission, then such an assertion lacks credibility. However, Malachi is writing about a sin of omission as robbery from God; it’s not what we have stolen from God so much as what we haven’t given in the first place.
I sometimes catch myself thinking, “I’m a pretty good guy, I don’t break any commandments, I try my best.” With such self-satisfaction, I can avoid taking a good, close look at myself. Martin Luther shakes me out of my smugness with his explanations of the Ten Commandments, where he talks about not only what is prohibited, but also what is required. Therein lies the problem.
When we recognize that we have not done what God has asked of us, then we will realize our need to be purified in God’s refining fire of forgiveness. The point of purifying metal is so that it will be more usable, more beautiful. This is what God wants, for us to be more valuable in the work of God’s realm, to be more beautiful in our words and deeds.
Forgiving God, we have sinned against you not only by what we have done, but just as significantly by what we have left undone. Purify us with the transforming forgiveness of your Son, that we might serve you better. Amen. — DH