So, you think you know what it means to steal? Why, it is the taking of another’s property against the owner’s will, right? Yes, but stealing also includes:
vandalism, cheating on exams, reporting more payroll hours than actually worked, wasting time at work, price gouging, shoplifting,” 1
as well as, finding things of value and not returning them to the rightful owner. Let’s also include:
“failure to pay taxes and bills, overspending the money of another person, failing to put in an honest day’s work, and reneging on a business contract.” 2
Let’s finish off this massive list with the well known actions of robbery and excessive gambling. This laundry list of 13 different actions sum up how to violate the Seventh Commandment: “You shall not steal” (Ex 20:15).
You thought you were scot-free because you never held anyone at gunpoint and took their watch and money, or because you never robbed a bank, right? Well, it’s those little things that get most of us: wasting time at work, chatting about our weekend, or most recent vacation, and not making up the time at the end of the day. Think about how easy is it to work from home one day a week, and fail to put in an honest day’s work. You find yourself using the time to get your laundry done. Something catches your eye on the TV. Before you know it, the day is shot. And you don’t make up the time.
Bottom Line with the Seventh Commandment
Whenever we knowingly cheat someone else out of what is rightfully theirs, we fail to live up to the Seventh Commandment. We fall woefully short. However, I think, of all Ten Commandments, this might be the one where we could make the most progress in faithfully adhering to it. Awareness is the key. Once we are aware, (and now consider yourself acutely aware), we can easily make changes that enable us to more easily adhere to the Seventh Commandment.
So, what can we do to be more faithful to the Seventh Commandment? There is an assortment of things we can do. Each idea centers on embracing the virtue of Respect. We must respect other people’s time, money and property, by:
- Paying our bills.
- Doing our own work.
- Doing an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
- Keeping our mitts on our own stuff, rather than grabbing what doesn’t belong to us!
1 Armenio, Peter V. Our Moral Life in Christ: College Ed. Woodridge: Midwest Theological Forum. Print. 2009 p. 522
2 Ibid., p. 522-523
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