Beckett: “You Shall Not Steal”

What does this mean? “We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbour’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.”

Like with the 5th Commandment, pride seeps in and we deceive ourselves in this 7th Commandment as well, “Ah, I have kept this Commandment perfectly! For I am a contributing member of society and I have not stolen anything!” Again, don’t kid yourself. For we were all children once, and what child has not stolen anything? Besides, this Commandment forbids also dishonest gain. As an adult, have you ever cheated someone out of what they sold—convincing them to sell it to you for less than what it’s worth? That, too, is theft.

Refusal to labour when you are otherwise healthy to do so is also theft. “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with everyone in need” (Ephesians 4:28). Honest work implies there is dishonest work. What would such dishonest work be? The mob (especially because they often break the 5th Commandment), scammers (for even though they make money, they make it out of stealing it from others), sitting on your bum and collecting welfare when you’re physically and mentally capable of working, lying to your co-workers to finish a task, lying on a work report, plagiarism, etc. Rather, honest labour is not only for the benefit of ourselves and our family as God’s promise to give us our daily bread, but also for the good of our neighbour, for God gives us our daily bread mediately through our neighbour.


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