“You shall not steal.
The Founders of America saw that this verse is an entitlement to personal property. If God considered it important enough to guarantee the safety of one’s goods in this way, the ability and the right to possess private property must be a God-given right. If it is wrong to steal, then it must be right to keep what you’ve earned through normal, legal means.
Thieves uniquely were not killed in penalty, but rather forced to pay back over and above the value of what they stole. They had to work to pay it back. It may sound like slavery, but sending someone to jail is worse than making someone work off their debt. This shows us that property in some ways equals time plus effort.
You spend your time working at a job to earn a paycheck, which you then in turn use to pay for things, like food, shelter, clothing, etc. These things represent your time. Time as we know is the most precious commodity we have, because we do not have an endless supply of it. Thus when something is stolen, it is a piece of someone’s life, not just property.
In the Law there is allowance made for sacrifices when a person lived too far away from the tabernacle. He could convert his animals he intended to sacrifice into money by selling them. Then, when he arrived at the tabernacle, he could then buy other animals to sacrifice on the altar. While he made his journey, his money represented his time and effort in raising pure animals for sacrifice. Our money does much the same thing. Our money represents the time and effort we sacrifice away from family and things that we want to do to do the things we have to do. Our paycheck represents the time and effort we spent working. This is in part why no one ever feels like they are being paid enough. To steal that money would be to steal your sacrifice.
Stealing is an easy way to acquire wealth, but it works against the soul. If the soul naturally is wont to work for its wealth, to acquire by earning, or “doing honest work” then stealing is its opposite. Stealing, like murder, takes the life of another person. There are implications for our modern world in this.
Consider for example taxes. Taxes are confiscated from your paycheck or during your transactions in very places at a percentage or a fixed portion. You have no choice but to pay them. You are submitted a portion of your time, your life, for things you have no choice in. Often the justification is that you are paying for publica services, like police, fire protection, new roads, and similar public works. That’s okay by me. But then my money is also being used to discover new uses for ketchup, how birds mate, and maintaining the lifestyle of a person who does not work, either by need or by choice. Some of my taxes are taken to pay to kill other potential future taxpayers before they are born. Not everything my taxes go for is by my choice or even my moral approval. Yet the tax burden never ceases, and every year more of my time is being spent in service to the state. Tell me what slavery is again?
And should we even talk about debt? Whether its student debt, credit card debt, housing debt, car loans, etc., as the proverb says, “the borrower is servant to the lender.” As long as you can work, you are still useful, and can pay your debts. But what happens when you are unable to work anymore? They come for your property. Now you may say that debt is something that you incur at your own risk. I choose to take on the debt, and sign the bottom line on the contract. This is true. And if I do not pay back the debt I promised I would pay, I am stealing from someone else, because the money had to come from somewhere, unless of course, that money is earned by interest. Interest rates invent money from thin air. There is no actual new money added to the money supply through interest. But every time you engage in a loan, your lender invents money by charging interest. When the Jews were told by God not to charge interest to their brothers, that’s because there was no new money coming in to their system. But when He said they could charge interest to foreigners and outsiders, that’s because there was new money coming into the system from outside. Not so with us. Everytime you can’t afford to buy something outright, you engage in a loan, and that comes with an interest rate. This is why there is more money owed in the world that there is money in the world. Think about that for a minute.
When interest is charged, there is a bit of theft involved, theft of money that does not yet exist until you apply your own real money to it. This is why you want to pay in cash or in real property when you purchase things. And yes, I know that sometimes that is impossible. That’s why I suggest it rather than say it must be so. I myself am experiencing this kind of debt so I know what I’m talking about, and only recently have we begun to dig our way out, but slowly. This is also why you may want to put some of your money into investments, since the same system that works against you by loan can work for you by investment. When you invest your money in the stock market, you use interest to your advantage, where they pay you for money they borrow. Savings accounts and CD’s work the same way, but to a much lesser extent.
“Let him who steals, steal no more, but let him work.” And this is the essence of this commandment. Work is the opposite of stealing. Work benefits the soul, while steal corrupts it. An honest day’s work will do wonders for the soul which practices it. If you continue to live off of others, you will become a husk and a shell of what you ought to be. In anyway that you can, offer something in effort to others. Even if its writing a blog about what you’ve learned about life. But always be working on something. It is a source code of life.