GREAT MORNING BELOVED!
Thou shalt not steal
SO, you’re looking at these 4 words and thinking, Sandy, this is an easy one…. simple – don’t steal. Well, that would be nice if people would pay attention to it.
But they don’t as we well know, and it’s not as simple as it sounds.
There is so much more to this Commandment… Spiritually…. as we shall see as we look at the Commitment, Challenge and the Law of Sharing.
But, let’s think for a minute…how could we look at this deeper? That’s what metaphysics asks of us, to look beyond the obvious.
I presented this question to my Tuesday class and we had a very interesting discussion.
SO, let’s start with Neal Donald Walsh’s take, his Commitment: You will not take a thing that is not your own, nor cheat, nor connive, nor harm another to have anything, for this would be to steal. I promise you, when you have found God, you shall not steal.
Stealing is trying to get something for which we do not have the consciousness and are therefore not spiritually entitled to. You cannot keep anything for which you do not have the consciousness.
The key is changing ‘shall not’ to ‘cannot’ and adding ‘consciousness’ to it.
Emmitt Fox – reminds us that the intent of the commandments is not to impose rules from above, but to keep us in alignment with the flow of divine energy and the working out of divine law.
When the Commandments were given, we were at a fairly early stage on our spiritual journey, we weren’t yet ready to understand the underlying spiritual truth; it is enough that we obey the commandments out of fear of negative consequences.
As we move toward spiritual maturity, we learn to replace the fear with love. We obey the same commandments, but we do so out of an energy of love for God, for ourselves and for our neighbors. This, of course, is the very heart of the message of Jesus, the Christ. He made it clear that his teaching was not intended to replace the law, but rather to shift our understanding from fearfully obeying arbitrary rules to joyful cooperation with God as loving and creative Law.
Jesus helped us to see that it is not behavior alone but consciousness that is at issue
We ‘cannot’ by right of consciousness. The Truth is that you can do anything, have anything, be anything, for which you have the consciousness – but not otherwise.
To be Healthy – you must have health consciousness
To be prosperous – you must have prosperity consciousness
To be Successful – you must have success consciousness
You must have the consciousness that corresponds with what you wish to have, be, do, etc.
In the same sense, we cannot keep anything for which we do not have the consciousness to correspond to it.
Think about what we are saying here…it’s a consciousness thing….
It’s the Law of Being – that sums up all the laws in life – whatever comes to you, whatever happens to you, whatever surrounds you, will be in accordance with your consciousness & nothing else, & whatever is in your consciousness must happen.
Stealing is trying to get something for which we do not have the consciousness & are therefore not spiritually entitled to.
You cannot do anything that is not in accordance with your consciousness at the moment, but you can change your consciousness – prayer, reading spiritual texts, music, poems, affirmations – affirm the Presence of God within and all around you.
Eric Butterworth looks at this Commandment as respect for property, right of ownership, and says it refers to all kinds of stealing – of course shoplifting, employee theft, armed robbery etc. = >30 billion in losses!
And that does not include the cost of insurance and security measures.
But there are other types of stealing besides the obvious.
Some of these may sound familiar to you…for whatever reason: stretching breaks & lunch hours; falsified sick days, padded expense accounts, even reduced effort or productivity – we use to call it RIP – retired in place, when someone was just counting their days till retirement, even if it was months or even years away & doing as little as possible to get there!
Felding defines his Challenge as – accomplish your goals without mistreating other people
SO those examples of stealing just mentioned are mistreating your employer.
How about Stealing one’s freedom – kidnapping & slavery, of course, but it’s also – a supervisor who breathes down your neck, is controlling or treats you like a servant; a possessive lover who is demanding & dictatorial; a parent, lover or friend who won’t let you have time alone, an overbearing parent refusing to let an adult child make choices for themselves, forcing sexual favors for the right to work?
Felding says it’s also a warning against deception & manipulation’
2nd century Rabbi Ishmael said, “the worst kind of thief is someone who uses deception to steal the good opinion of people”
He also said, “to win someone’s gratitude or regard through deceit is a form of thievery.”
A Politician who lies to steal your vote, a salesperson or advertiser who misrepresents a product’s attributes to win a sale, or a friend or co-worker who pretends to be on your side while secretly working against you are all examples of stealing…stealing a person’s self-esteem.
Dr. Lewis Smedes suggests, “The commandment confronts a modern culture which accepts greed as a style of self-affirmation. Recognizing the difference between stealing & dealing is a lost art. We still know that when a thug snatches a purse, he is stealing; we are not sure whether or not a creative ad writer who woos money from people by seductive lies is stealing. We know that a burglar who takes a family’s TV is stealing; we are not sure whether a company is stealing when it exploits a poor nation’s resources.”
From a spiritual point of view – Being rude, treating any human being in a demeaning way, even failing to respond to a greeting is a theft of self-respect;
Think about all that!
Stealing someone’s self-worth when you interrupt while they are talking, when we fail to acknowledge co-authors, researchers, sources of information, when we mistreat people who work for us…. all examples of taking away from their self-worth.
There’s a line between cleverness, ambition, or assertiveness & unfairly hurting someone.
DO we recognize that line?
Joan Chittister – refers to this as the Law of Sharing
She looks at how things were in Israel at the time of the ‘10 words’. The law was to protect the common property of the clan, their well, the sheep, the land from being used for individual profit. Property was common owned…welfare of the community was held over the individual.
The Israelis believed God owned the land, and the people were the caretakers, the stewards.
Further, these Laws were written to protect the poor from being exploited by the rich. Scripture is filled with warnings against using false weights in the marketplace, charging interest on a debt, or holding the cloak of a debtor as collateral.
Laws of charity are clear in Judaism. 1/10th minimum belongs to God & to be used to take care of God’s people.
DO you know what Gleaning is? -the right of the poor to the un-gathered part of the harvest, the obligation of the farmer to leave part of the season’s yield behind for the poor
There are some places where gleaning is permitted in PA, but I am not aware of any in Delaware.
The Bible forbids waste – nothing that is of use to anyone is ever to be destroyed, must be put to use for those who need it – waste is stealing from those who have need
Having more than we need & giving nothing to those who have nothing is another form of stealing. By consuming, controlling, hoarding all the goods of earth for oneself…this is spiritual gluttony
Stealing in a biblical sense is not so much a private or personal sin, but a social sin – we have missed the mark. To take what we don’t need, to destroy what is useful to another, to deprive those in the community of their basic needs is stealing
Sharing is a human imperative because we all depend on someone else somehow to provide what we each need. None of us is entirely self-sufficient.
I repeat; None of us is entirely self-sufficient. No where near it!
Stealing is as much about method as it is about money. (credit cards, scams, inflated prices, inflating the size of a box but not the contents but charging more-in other words, charging what we are willing to pay), stealing elections…sound familiar?
Stealing has become a way of life in a world bulging with wealth & teeming with poor
Think about this…. How honest we are about little things determines how straight we will be about the big things.
We might think those examples of stealing are insignificant, but they add up, they make their mark on our integrity, on our soul.
In addition, A person that refrains from stealing only because of fear has a limitation consciousness. He who robs another robs himself first by breaking his own integrity or wholeness. It breaks one’s soul.
I realize integrity & high values are not easy to maintain. Integrity means to be whole or complete.
Living with greater integrity & wholeness is a goal that many people feel is out of reach or no longer relevant but finding a way to be moral & compassionate will awaken the sparks of light within your soul & you will feel a greater sense of spiritual richness.
And life is easier…really!
This Law of Sharing challenges us daily to choose whether we wish to seek a life of integrity & wholeness – we must make our choices consciously.
Here are 4 principles to live with greater wholeness & integrity
1. Take time to make conscious choices. Think fully through your choices, just like our Native Americans – look ahead to 7 generations. There are often more than 2 options if we think through the situation.
2. Confront your own habits of being sneaky, deceptive or insensitive. Think about your behavior: BE HONEST! – do you get impatient & interrupt? Do you cut corners, are you rude or cold to people? Do you find yourself doing something unkind, immoral, illegal in business or relationships? Do you ever feel as if you are faking it or doing whatever will get people to like you? Are you sometimes controlling of someone? Do you sometimes take advantage of people’s innocence, niceness, trust? All good questions we can ask ourselves, if we are brave…
3. Anticipate when doing the right thing will be unpopular. Principled action sometimes causes people to turn against you. Be prepared to be strong and stand for your integrity.
4. Share a portion of what you have with people who have less. We shouldn’t steal, but we also should make sure that others don’t need to steal in order to feed & clothe their families. We have a duty to make it easy & non-shameful for a poor or hungry person to enjoy a portion of whatever we create.
Jesus. “Give and it will be given to you” Luke 6:38
The purpose of giving is not to receive but to give.
We must unlearn the concept of “get” “get” “get” and become enthusiastic about the ideal of “give” “give” “give.”
When one really understands the spiritual law of ‘you shall not steal’ she becomes meticulously careful not to take or accept anything that is not rightfully hers…or fail to fulfill an obligation that is her responsibility.
One can never get something for nothing…period. Eventually, we pay.
Sr. Joan is a warrior when it comes to standing for the rights of the poor…”We cannot claim that we are not a nation of thieves until we insist on a society where no one has to steal to live.”
We claim to be a “Christian” nation…but I have to wonder what that definition is.
Get yourself into the flow of the divine creative process & create the conditions within your own mind that will make the outward manifestation inevitable. Turn from the goals of getting and having to the ideal of giving and being.
Every person is constantly & abundantly supported by an all providing universe
True wealth is the magnetic flow of Spirit within us that draws the things we desire to us. There is a great sense of fulfillment in life that comes from just being in the flow.
And to be in the flow, we must come to realize that One’s property & creative gifts are not one’s own, only trusted to you from Spirit. Whatever we have we hold only in stewardship, in trust from the Divine Universe.
We damage our soul when we hold back from sharing our gifts. We’ve talked about the importance of sharing the gifts you have received.
The Native Americans teach sharing wisdom & gifts is a natural duty, it benefits your soul…we are to “keep emptying ourselves to receive more.” That’s nice.
Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
And Matthew 6:1-4 reminds us: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Take those thoughts into the Silence…