Nightline’s series on the Ten Commandments moves to the 8th Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.”
The commandment, or more properly prohibition, is general enough in Exodus 20:15 to include both kidnapping and swiping what belongs to others. According to the experts, the 8th Commandment included the notion of stealth.
Clearly, there is a sense of the integrity and security of personal property in the 8th Commandment. But property is not enough: property involves the person. Not to steal is not only to respect ownership and to live within the rights of ownership, but it is to respect the person who owns something.
Jesus, I would argue, ups the ante here. In Matthew 19:18-19 (“19:18 “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19:19 honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”) Jesus shows that the second half of the Ten Commandments are connected to loving your neighbor as yourself.
Which means, not stealing for Jesus is a reflection that you are to love your neighbor. I would say we can up this ante more: loving your neighbor is to do more than just “not steal.” Loving your neighbor is to pray for and work that your neighbor and your neighbor’s possessions will flourish according to God’s designs. It is take joy in who the neighbor is and to take joy in what God has given that neighbor. It is to be grieved when your neighbor does bad and to be grieved when your neighbor doesn’t respect his or her own property and possessions.