"You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another."
(Leviticus, 19:11, NASB)
Long before I became a Christian, I remember my family taking me to movies when I was a young child. We hardly ever bought popcorn, soft drinks, or candy at the movie theater--in fact I can't remember a single time when we did. When I became a teenager I remedied this by going to dollars stores and purchasing cheap boxes of candy and hiding them in the pockets of my pants, my coat, or on one of my friends. I justified this behavior to myself by saying, "I have a right to eat whatever I want and to buy it from whomever I choose." I also remember thinking, "The cost of food in movie theaters is six times what it is in other stores! Why should I not try to save money?"
Years later, after becoming a Christian, I realized that this behavior was not in keeping for a Christian. Here are thoughts along this line for your consideration.
1. Sneaking candy into movie theaters is a violation of a posted theater policy. I've never encountered a movie theater which permitted its patrons to bring in food or drinks from home. Most of us would never knowingly bring a video camera into a theater and tape the movie we're watching in order to distribute it illegally on the Internet. But sneaking candy into the movies is equally dishonest. Why is that? Because knowingly acting in violation of any business's policy and pretending that I'm not is intentionally dealing falsely with others, a clear violation of scripture as noted above.
2. Sneaking candy into movie theaters destroys the theater's ability to make a profit. Have you ever heard someone say, "The concessions is where theaters make their money!" In many cases this is true. If I am truly eating something I am not authorized to bring, based on my acceptance of the agreement to not bring outside food into a theater, I have deprived the theater of its profit. If this is indeed stealing, Christians should cease from this practice. (Eph. 4:28)
3. Sneaking candy into movie theaters creates a bad example for others. Christians and non-Christians, especially children, can be influenced by the behavior of others. If others see us doing this practice, they will likely imitate it. If it is something that causes us to sin, it may cause them to sin when they do as we do.
4. It is often the "little things" that make Christians look like hypocrites to the world. A Christian might say, "I've never murdered, or committed adultery, or cheated on my taxes." Very well indeed. But one who stumbles in one point of honesty has violated the truth. "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much." (Luk. 16:10)