THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT – MINE AND YOURS
I’m not going to write well tonight.
For three days it’s been about 62 degrees in my house — I’ve left the windows open during a cold snap and . . . no, I don’t want to get the furnace going because it will be in the 80s next week, and . . . yep . . . I’ve got the sniffles now. Old-fashioned, juvenile type little cold: drippy, sneezy, dopey, sleepy, scratchy and all the other little Dwarfs that Snow White dealt with.
Nevertheless, it’s time for the Seventh.
The Seventh Commandment says: Thou shalt not steal.
“Don’t take something that doesn’t belong to you.” A child can understand that. In fact, we must teach that to a child. It’s the foundation for his understanding of what that Commandment is fully telling us. As the child matures, when the child is ready, when the child becomes conscious of the rightness and wrongness of actions, then the word “steal” can take on further implications:
People have a right to own things. People have a right to work and earn more things. People have a right to keep the things they have earned.
As children grow, they understand that they must return “lost property” to its rightful owner. As tempting as it is, if it’s not yours and you found it, it’s still not yours. Somebody lost it. It’s theirs.
If you break something that belongs to somebody else, then fix it. Or pay for it. Or make restitution somehow.
If you say you’re going to do work for someone, then do it honestly, so your employer isn’t cheated.
Here’s the thing: Thou shalt not steal is the basis for a whole range of ethical behavior. And it’s not rocket science. God is real, and a Living Being, so when you desire a relationship with Him, He lives “within” you, watching over you and guiding you. Thou shalt not steal is internalized and then, when situations come up, right and wrong becomes instinctive.
Starts with God. Proceeds with your relationship with Him. Grows with your desire to honor Him and please Him. Matures with your efforts to learn of Him. His Spirit in you takes care of the development.
Not sure if I’m making sense. I want to go to bed now under some warm covers and sniffle the night away.
We’ll explore a world without the Seventh Commandment tomorrow.
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