The Eighth Commandment is very simple and direct. It is a clear command to respect what belongs to others.
“You shall not steal.”
This commandment should not be ground breaking stuff for any of us; don’t take what doesn’t belong to you. That’s easy. So, let’s look at what else is going on here.
Take a look at the other nine commandments. You will find that all of them are designed to protect or define something. Commandments 1-4 are about God, number 5 is about parents, 6 is the innocent, 7 is about spouses and 9 and 10 protect our neighbors. Only the 8th commandment is open-ended.
Why is that significant? Well, there is an additional element to the 8th Commandment. Taking what is not ours is the real basis of all the other commandments. We steal God’s glory when we give His worship to others, we steal our parents honor when we disrespect them, we steal another’s life when we murder and we steal their spouse through adultery. Justice and property are stolen when we lie and covet.
Stealing, all of a sudden, looms as the foundation of all the other sins. When we take what is not ours, isn’t that what sin is? Doesn’t our sin problem spring from our desire to live life on our own terms instead of surrendering to God?
When we set our hearts on what is not ours, we become the one who loses everything. Stealing robs us of God who is our very life.
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”