That is Good News! An ongoing story of someone taking something from someone else
Published 11:23 am Saturday, November 30, 2019
If you have ever had something stolen, even something of little value or significance, you know the feeling of another’s disregard for your personal property.
The eighth commandment the Lord gave to the Israelites was, “You must not steal.” Exodus 20:15 NLT.
As with the command to not murder, this command may be short, but it has a deep significance in the value of life and relationships.
As a husband and father, one of my greatest desires is to do what I can to keep my family safe and secure. One of the attempts at that task is having plenty of outdoor lighting and a security system at our home.
Our society has become one that necessitates professional monitoring due to an ever-increasing criminal threat, especially that of theft, especially the violent kind.
History continues to be an ongoing story of someone taking something from someone else.
The idea of “what’s Yours is mine and I’m going to take it,” is the basis of most human struggle. Even the ancient Israelites had to contend with this struggle and had to build walls around their cities to attempt protection from their enemies.
The quest for safety and security is not just a universal human desire, but a universal human struggle.
That is where this seemingly simple and obvious commandment begins to go deeper. In creating a covenant and moral code by which the people of God were commanded to live by, the Lord was assessing the necessity of protecting the security of all by unauthorized taking of something that does not belong to another.
What is taken when one steals has really more to do with the loss of trust, civility and the basis of Holy Love.
What can be overwhelming in our lives today is that there are innumerable ways for someone to steal from another.
This digital life opens opportunities for theft which goes beyond the realm of physical property. As well, the ability to accuse, defame and speak ill of another in an almost worldwide platform through social media, allows for the theft of career, character, and reputation in a single incriminating false post.
This commandment has so much more to do with the value of people than it has with robbing a bank, shoplifting a candy bar or even taking a quarter from your mother’s coin purse.
This commandment speaks to every facet of life where we could wrongfully take something that is not ours.
This commandment seeks to have us think of not just protecting what belongs to us, but also the intentional security of what belongs to others, especially what belongs to God.
The call to be people of Holy Love requires us to not just keep the letter of God’s law, but to also keep the spirit of the law as well. Love is not just an emotion or a function of behavior, it is valuing God by valuing what He values.
It is loving God by loving what He loves.
So, we do not steal from others as well as not stealing from ourselves to engage in loving others as we love ourselves.
This is the heart of the eighth command.
The devil tempts the world to steal so he can steal the joy we have in trusting in the Lord. Those who trust God by obeying His word find a joy that is not from material things or even security, but a joy that is centered full reliance on our Father.
We value each other when we do not steal, and we value the one who created us.
On the cross, Jesus defeated the ultimate thief of sin and grants to every believer the joy of trusting in His love. That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.