According to the Queens, New York District Attorney Richard Brown, the largest case of identity theft involved Amar Singh and his wife, Neha Punjani-Singh. This couple pleaded guilty to a $13 million scheme of stealing credit card numbers from costumers in grocery stores and department stores in Queens. Amar Singh faces up to 250 years in prison time. He will die in jail for his crimes.
Identity thieves have been known to take out loans in a person's name after stealing their identity. They have bought homes using a stolen identity. Identity theft cost Americans $1.5 billion in 2011.
Our identity is not limited to money and business matters. Our identity is a composite of several ingredients in life that also can be stolen. We need to be alert to identity theft in all areas of our lives.
Don't cause the loss of your identity. Our identity engulfs different aspects of our lives that also need protection.
Your identity is linked to your profession or work. Most of us are identified as a judge, teacher, business owner, doctor, dentist, sales, builder, supervisor, assistant, etc. How could someone steal your professional identity? A scandal can rob us of our professional identity. A high-profile person can ruin his/her career with some illegal activity. People with a good reputation can lose their entire good name over one mistake, crime or scam.
Proverbs 22:1 says that a good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold. The Bible warns us in First Timothy 6:9, "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction."
Do not be deceived into believing you are different and no one will know if you have an affair or cheat on your taxes or violate the law. Such false thinking can lead to your ruin. Do not rob yourself of your own identity.
Our identity is connected to our family. Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers. One of the Ten Commandments says, "Honor your father and mother" (which is the first commandment with a promise.)
The famous German philosopher Schleiermacher did much to shape the progress of modern thought. One day he, being elderly, was sitting alone on a bench in a city park. A policeman, thinking he was a beggar, came over and shook him and asked, "Who are you?" Schleiermacher, the old philosopher, replied sadly, "I wish I knew."
Have you ever asked yourself, "Who am I? Why was I born? What is my purpose in life?" Family composes a major portion of our identity. How do you avoid the loss of family identity? Strive to remain in good relations with your family.
Our identity is joined to our spouse. In the circle of friends and family of the wife, the husband is known through his wife. With the people who know the husband, the wife is known through her husband. For this reason, men and women go through an identity crisis when there is a separation. If you have gone through a divorce or are in the process, you feel the pain of a loss of a part of yourself. I have heard people who are going through a divorce say, "I wonder sometimes who I am."
If you are married, do not let someone steal your identity associated with your spouse. In Ephesians 5, the husband and wife are mutually submitted to each other. The husband loves his wife with an undying commitment similar to Jesus' love for us. The husband loves his wife as himself and the wife respects her husband. This relationship is so close, the two appear as one. When you think of one spouse, both names come to mind. Keep your marriage strong and healthy.
Our identity is attached to Jesus Christ. I base this conclusion on Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me. The book of Galatians addresses whether we are saved by our own good works or by the grace of Christ, Christ's good works.
We can be saved by the Law of God and man if we perfectly obey the Law all our lives but we have a problem with perfect obedience to God's Law. We have disobeyed God and thus eliminated ourselves as being able to save ourselves by our own good works. Christ's sacrifice on the cross became the substitute for judgment against all our sin. Paul lived by faith to please God and appreciate him for saving him by the cross.
This Scripture in Galatians 2:20 presents a beautiful application. We now have two choices for salvation: live a perfect life in obedience to God's laws or let Jesus' sinless life become our substitute for our sinful life. Grace means we choose to have Jesus pay the penalty for all our sins. You now have a new identity in Christ you are no longer trying to earn salvation and Heaven. Christ earned it for you. Protect your identity in Christ.