“Thou shalt not steal.”
This is the eight of the Ten Commandments given to us by God. Of all the Ten Commandments, it is the eight commandments that seem to be not too specific. You shall steal what? Other commandments are specific. You shall keep the Sabbath; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not murder; and so on and so forth.
This leads us to the topic of our blog today. Indeed, there are obvious forms of stealing such as getting something that is not yours, shoplifting, snatching somebody else’s phone, and robbing a bank.
However, there are other forms of stealing that you probably are not aware of. The truth is, you might have already stolen something without knowing it!
This is the reason why I wrote this blog. In this post, let me share with you some of the most common ways we break the eighth commandment, “Thou shall not steal.”
1. Not being punctual
Punctuality is being on time. It just means that you will be in a place when you said you would be there. It is the art of respecting other people’s time.
So how does being tardy or late makes you a thief? Well, not being punctual is stealing other people’s time. It is even a form of lying because you did not keep your word. If you do not arrive on time, in essence, you are stealing the precious time of the other person – time that he could have spent with his family or other important things.
2. Slacking off in work
Maybe you are not stealing office supplies, but you are stealing something more important when you are slacking off in work. Your company or boss pays you to do a certain job. However, if you are just goofing around during work hours or when your boss is not around, you are guilty of stealing precious resources from your company.
3. Watching pirated movies
The internet has given us the ability to access an incredible amount of information. It has also given us the capacity to enjoy watching movies without paying for it. Yes, it is an economical way of watching movies, but in reality, you are killing the movie industry by patronizing pirated movies.
We have a law against producing pirated films, and it is considered as a criminal offense. It is a form of stealing that you need to stop doing.
4. Downloading pirated software
We love free stuff, right? This is totally understandable as we try to save as much money as possible. However, downloading pirated software, like computer programs and Operating Systems, are considered to be stealing. When we use pirated software and cracked codes just to make it a free program, we are not respecting the effort and energy that other people put into their work. Instead of giving them what is due, we are stealing their work without paying them for their service.
5. Not being grateful to God
When we receive blessings, and we don’t attribute it to God, we are stealing His glory. Remember that all good gifts are from above (James 1:17) and He should get the credit for that. All glory comes back to Him.
Every time we succeed in life, and we attribute it to our abilities, talents, and gifts, then we are stealing God’s glory. When we achieve our goals in life, it is not because we are good. IT IS GOD WHO IS GOOD. Therefore, let us always give back the glory to God and not steal it from Him.
6. Destroying other people’s reputation
When we say bad things about people and spread gossip, we are stealing the reputation of that person. Libel and slander are two other ways of taking other people’s reputation.
We want to destroy other people’s reputation just because we want to look better. Putting other people down just to elevate ourselves is no real success. If you do this, you will eventually fail, and your failure will be hard and bitter.
7. Not returning borrowed items
When we borrow something, be it a book, shovel, paper, or slippers, you need to make sure you give it back. And when you give it back, make sure that it was in the same condition when you borrowed it, if not better. If you fail so, this is also considered as stealing.
8. Telling lies
Telling lies is stealing the truth. A person deserves to know the truth, and when we tell a lie, we are deceiving and manipulating people.
Moreover, when we deceive other people, such as convincing them to buy something to the point that we don’t tell all the relevant information about a product, we are stealing their trust.
9. Not giving tithes to God
Maybe, the highest form of stealing is robbing God. Malachi 3:8-9 very clear on this: when you fail to tithe, you are robbing God and keeping what we don’t rightfully own. There are a lot of reasons why we should tithe and not stealing is just one of them.
10. Not paying for the services of others
When someone serves us, that person is giving away his/her time and energy. When we don’t pay them in exchange for their services, then we are stealing their time and energy as well. We are even stealing them the ability to provide for their family.
11. Humiliating/bullying/degrading other people
When we humiliate other people – call them various derogatory names – we are stealing their dignity. It is sad to know that bullying has been widespread in our society that even kids are not safe from them anymore. We find bullies in our workspace, schools, and even on the Internet. When we bully, degrade or humiliate other people especially in public, we are stealing their dignity.
Students are fond of the copy-paste method of preparing their assignments. When we use information without mentioning its source, we are stealing. When we use copyrighted materials, such as photos from the web, we are plagiarizing, and we are guilty of theft.
These are just some of the ways we break the eighth commandment without even knowing it. Now that we know these things, it is important that we do our best in avoiding them. Imagine a world void of thieves and robbers… this world would certainly be a better place for all mankind!