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Thou Shall Not Steal in today's world

Updated on June 21, 2013

A simple overview of the 10 Commandments

The Ten Commandments are to teach us how to live and glorify God and also how to live in a community with others, both believers and non-believers. However, they are not supposed to be just simply little laws for people to memorize, these are meant to be life changing and life forming philosophies for everyone to think and follow. I am hoping to finish a Hub on each of the 10, but I am going to start with my favorite one, Thou Shall Not Steal- number 8.

From the actions of our children

I have a wonderful 6-year old son. I love him dearly, however, I think the saying I repeat over and over is “Is it yours? Then don’t touch it.” It may seem simple to think of all the materials that are stolen each and every day: cars, money, electronics and even our own identity. Too many times we can read in the news about people who had their lives ruined because someone took something that was valued or sentimental. Thou Shall Not Steal is important, but is it just about not taking stuff that doesn’t belong to us?

Our own Gifts

God has given us more than just material belongings. Each one of us is a unique and special creation. We were each given amazing talents to be used for the Glory of God (see 1 Corinthians 12). So we cannot steal from God either. God has placed us in a community and family where we are tested and taught, stretched and pushed to be the best possible person we can be. Not everything we have experienced may seem like a good thing, until we need the knowledge we gained during one of those tests or trials. Then the experience will help us bring someone closer to God, or help us understand how much we are dependent to God. So, if we do not use our gifts and talents for the Glory of God, then we are actually stealing them from God. We are not using them properly, or we are not giving God the glory for what we are doing, we are stealing. It is once again that simple, except many people think since they did they work they should receive the money or payment. They have convinced themselves they are able to handle everything life throws and them by themselves and they do not need anyone’s help, even God’s. These people do not understand how much God has already done for them, when He created them in His image and showered on them every gift and talent they use in their lives. So every person has several gifts, the key to this commandment is to admit we all have great abilities and they need to be used to bring people closer to God.

The Gifts of others

Another thought is we can steal other people’s gifts from God too. We can push the people away, or we can create situations where those people are not allowed to use their own gifts and talents. We can call it helping, but when people are not allowed to live fully into who God created them to be, we have done something wrong. Also if we do not see people for their true worth we can steal their self-esteem and personal value. If we degrade people so they think less of themselves. Or if we insult and attack people so they are afraid to use their gifts or to do anything for fear of being ridiculed. We can take it the other way and make people think they are better than they truly are. Thinking we can make them feel better about themselves with empty praises and lies. This makes them feel much better, but it also sets them up to fall even more when they learn the truth of who they are and what they are capable of. We are all in this life together, and we can help each other in an honest and loving way, by understanding we all can do something to help and we all need to get help sometimes. And both are okay.

Using our time wisely and Godly

It is easier to tell someone not to do something than to take the time and effort to help them become a better person. Teaching someone how to use their own talents takes time, energy and sometimes money. It may not feel worth it during the lessons, but when someone finally realizes the full potential of who God created them to be, the feeling of accomplishment outweighs all the effort to get them there. God has called us to live in a community, to live together and to build each other up, to support one another. This sounds easy, but too many times we are asked to help someone during an inconvenient time in our own lives. We cannot steal this moment just because we think we are too busy doing something else. Everyone we meet is in our lives for a reason. We are called to help them, support them, and allow them to use their gifts in our lives as well as their own.

Accepting help is not a bad thing...

It is hard for some people to accept help, or to admit that someone else might be better at a task or job. If we don’t allow others to use their gifts in our own lives we are stealing that gift. We are stealing from the person and from God by not letting them help us. We need the support of others just as much as we need to support others in their own journey on this earth. We are not less than someone else simply because we need help. No one thinks less of a chef going to a mechanic to get his car fixed, in the same way no one sees anything wrong with the mechanic going to a chef to get an amazing meal prepared. Each has their own gifts, neither is better or worse, and both are needed to enjoy life more fully. Everything we have learned can be used to help someone else on this journey of life, love and becoming closer to God.

Fully accepting all the 8th Commandment does for us

When we can fully understand and live into the Eighth Commandment, our lives will be more enjoyable and filled with fellowship. People will not be afraid to be around us knowing they will be supported and up lifted. We can live knowing we will have times to help others and there will be times when we need help from someone else. This bartering system of talents helps us create a relationship with people we may not normally associate with, and it also opens avenues to help teach people about the love of God in their own lives. Anytime someone comes into a relationship with God there is time for rejoicing and celebration. Any time someone is given the opportunity to use their gifts, and actually gives glory to God in their actions, and then we have done right according to this commandment. There is so much more here than “Is it yours? Then don’t touch it,” but that is a good beginning.


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    • Rev. Akins profile image

      Rev. Akins 6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      I see the issue now. False Witness is 9 and wife and property, combined, are 10 according to most sources. I see where the disagreement is now. It is all in the tradition you follow, but most would number stealing as 8, false witness as 9 and the rest as 10. It is up to the translator to determine which goes where, but for the most part, the majority of biblical scholars follow the method of numbering that I used.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      What about: "Thou shalt not bear false witness." "Thou shat not covet thy neighbors wife" Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods or property." I believe they rank 8, 9, and 10 making stealing 7.

    • Rev. Akins profile image

      Rev. Akins 6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      Dave- Thanks for the input. I am curious as to your comment on which commandment it is, the best of my knowledge, the Eighth Commandment is "Thou Shall Not Steal", if you have another interpretation I understand, but according to the Talmud and most Protestant religions, it is the eighth.

      Again, thanks for the comment, I appreciate the thoughts and the discussion.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      God's "TEN COMMANDMENTS" are just that, commandments by our creator on how to live together. They are not suggestions, nor recommendations, nor ideas, but "COMMANDMENTS", the key word being "Command".

      Not wishing to dwell upon semantics You are actually discussing the 7th. not the 8th. but whatever.

      I have an intelligent wife. Yet there are times that she will do or say, or, not do or not say something, that makes the situation appear stupid. One thing I will never do is to call her "Stupid" when these times come up. But I will point out to her that what she did or failed to do, or what she said or failed to say was stupid. By doing it this way, I never diminish her, only the situation, and then together we seek a way to correct whatever needs correcting. To call her stupid not only diminishes her, but also diminishes her faith in her ability and he faith in God too.