I have been unemployed for six months. I have an eighteen-month-old baby, and a wife who is also unemployed. I have been taking money from my mother without her knowledge. I have asked God for a job and to make things right with my family… but I have been in so much stress that I have resorted to drinking. I would like to know if things have not gone well for me because of having stolen money from my mother.

Dear Friend,

We are sorry to hear that you are without a job and have been under a lot of stress. The loss of work, accompanied by the inability to provide for your family, is certainly stressful for anyone. However, you have chosen to make some very bad decisions, and you can already see the damaging consequences of those bad decisions.

Stealing money from your mother reveals aspects of your character. An honest man would not steal from anyone, and certainly not from his own mother. If you believe that your mother has enough resources to help you, why haven’t you asked for a loan instead? Could it be that you know your mother won’t give you a loan, in spite of her ability to do so? If that is the case, could it be that she doesn’t think that giving you money is the best way to help you?

You may take offense at being called dishonest. That is because you justify your bad decisions. You blame your dishonesty on your lack of a job. You blame your drinking on stress. And you blame your inability to get a job on some perceived punishment from God.

A man who believes that his bad decisions were caused by factors outside of his control is a man who is also irresponsible. A responsible man, on the other hand, knows that his own decisions have caused many of the negative consequences in his life. A responsible man faces the truth about himself and does everything in his power to correct his own negative and destructive traits.

You say that you asked God to give you a job and to make things right with your family. But then you stole money from your mother and continued drinking excessively. So, do you think that God should give you what you need while you keep breaking His rules? Of course, God wants to help you. He loved you enough to send His only Son to die as punishment for your mistakes. But He is a good Parent, and good parents don’t reward children who are making willful mistakes. Ask for His forgiveness and His help to immediately stop stealing, lying, and drinking.

Work on correcting your character flaws, and you will make yourself a better potential employee. Confess to your mother, and tell her that you plan to pay her back. Find meetings for problem drinkers and begin attending regularly, while also making yourself accountable to your wife for your time and actions. Tell the truth to everyone, and if you lie without thinking, correct the lie immediately. Volunteer for a charity or church, and spend every waking moment in productive activity, even if you don’t get paid for it.

Allow God to help change you on the inside, and then your outside circumstances will change.

We wish you well,