Maybe they need it more than we do? (Ten Commandments Redux part 8)

#8 "Thou shalt not steal."

That's a pretty short verse. Not the shortest in the Bible ("Jesus wept." John 11:35), but certainly a contender. What do you think of when you hear it? Theft? Fair enough. I won't take that from you. There are however, some deeper connotations to this commandment than simple petty larceny. And besides, why would God tell His children to do something—much like murder and adultery and lying—that would already be part of the moral law that pervades much of civilization and society, religious and non? Do we need it more than they? Why would God have to tell us not to steal?

I'll open with a verse from the New Testament. "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you." (1 John 2:26 emphasis mine) Another implication of the Hebrew verb "steal", is deceive. Or seduce. In other words, it might be obvious and evident why one would not want to steal possessions or allow it. "What's yours is yours and what's mine is mine" is an air-tight logical assertion. Societies can't function or progress without a system of laws to protect individuals' possessions and property. But what about the intangible things of the heart? Wouldn't that qualify as theft were to deceive (or disabuse) someone out of their belief, their faith, hope, love? To trick them into believing a lie? I'm walking a fine line here, because an atheists or non-believer might say I'm doing that very thing, seeking to substantiate belief in a supreme deity with no discernible evidence and no "air-tight logical" proof. I digress. We're talking about theft here, plain and simple. I will say this: there are those in society who would never dream of stealing a physical object but are adept at pickpocketing the emotions of others. Jesus said as much: "and your joy no man taketh from you." (John 16:22, emphasis mine) Then again, if someone wants to take my joy, do they need it more than I? Maybe. I, for one, refuse to let anyone affect my life in such a way that they negate by manipulation the emotions of the Holy Spirit through me. That might sound paranoid, but I'm sure you could put it in your own words and relate it to your own life amidst your circle of acquaintances, if friends. Consider this from Proverbs (4:23): "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (emphasis mine) The issues of life, eh? It's King James. That which gives life, makes it worth living. Keep it. Don't let anyone steal it.

Many times in my life growing up, I heard the phrase "maybe they need it more than you" from my dad when I'd leave something (never to be found) or lose something. He'd tell me to give it to them, as unto the Lord. The possession(s) in question could easily be replaced (most times anyways, once I left a favorite jacket at a soccer game and came back to find it gone, a sad day), but the priceless qualities of God's Spirit are not so easily acquired. And when someone is not receiving those things from God, they just may try and appropriate them from you. Keep your heart with all diligence.

Martin Luther coined a word in the early 1500s. Its English translation is "Antinomianism". It essentially means "without law". But don't think of it as the law in the modern sense. It's referring to the moral law that everyone is supposedly bound by. Whereas it seems superfluous or unnecessarily redundant to hear this rule from anyone other than our own conscience, namely God, what I believe Luther was saying here is that now—because of Jesus—we have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit to help us with our decisions and to realize that we, as Christians, appeal to God for something higher than moral law. Namely holiness.

"For there is no respect of persons with God." (Romans 2:11) 

Meaning God doesn't value one person over another. If you see a quality others possess, i.e. joy, hope, peace, contentment, et cetera, know that He'll give it to you directly. You don't need to take it from those to whom it belongs. Maybe they need it more than you?

"But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19, emphasis mine)

Paradigms and/or Paradoxes

Eidos (City of the Blind part 2)