I have a new article up at NewEvangelizers.com.
Don’t take what’s not yours.
This is a principle that most of us learn in kindergarten. And for the most part, I would imagine that many of us are not law breakers who engage in theft. So what does this commandment say about us?
In the modern world this includes taking the intellectual property of others. Those ads and warnings about piracy of movies and music are not just notices about breaking the law but also about breaking the commandments. “But everyone does it,” is a common response. However, that is never a justification before God. Always, we are called to be a people set apart.
As a teacher the biggest area I see this in is cheating, particularly plagiarism. In the internet age, it is so easy to simply copy and paste information from Wikipedia. In fact, I would imagine that this problem is so commonplace that we may have thousands of students who do not know how to do basic research. Also incredibly problematic is the fact that many of these students see nothing wrong with taking someone else’s words and passing them off as their own.
In business, some of us have the temptation to skim a little off the top. If not outright theft, perhaps we play around with our work hours or expenses and over charge for our labor. Again, here we are taking that which is not ours and was not earned.
And often among friends and family we borrow things without returning them. Or if we return them, they are much worse for the wear. These might be little offenses that are winked at among loved ones or these could fester into real areas of division.
There is a reason that this commandment follows the commandment about adultery. Both commandments six and seven involve looking at another person like an object.
You can read the entire article here.