The Eighth Commandment
“Thou shalt not steal”
Question: What is “stealing”?
Answer: Taking something that does not belong to you, on purpose, is stealing. Sometimes you might accidentally walk off with something that does not belong to you, but that is not stealing. It is stealing if you know that you are taking something, and you are doing it
secretly, or by trickery, or maybe even bullying someone into handing something over that
is not yours to take. Robbery is stealing by using force or violence. Both are forbidden by God.
We only hurt ourselves when we attempt to steal or rob from others. The Bible tells us:
“The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them.” (Proverbs 21)
There are many ways to steal. Sometimes, we may not even realize we are doing it. At first, it is enough to know that you should not steal toys or money from your family and friends, and you should not steal an extra cookie if your mother says “no more.” However, as you grow, you will see that mortal mind may tempt you to steal a good person’s reputation, or steal from the government by cheating on taxes, or steal opportunities, positions, or a place in line, for example.
But, always, mortal mind and the belief of fear will tempt you to steal from God, and to rob yourself of what God has given to you as His beloved child. We must be alert to this kind of stealing, which is discussed in another lesson.
Practice: Can you think of other examples of stealing? Talk with your parents about shop- lifting, and other types of stealing that kids sometimes do. Why is it wrong to steal from stores?
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(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments”
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