Monthly Messages from Sally Weiesnbach, Ark Founder & Director of Operations
We continue our walk through 2023 examining Jesus’ greatest commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34), and what that means to us today. This month, we see how loving each other Jesus’ way fulfills the 8th commandment God gave to Moses: “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
When we love our neighbors as ourselves, we respect their rights and their property. Because of our respect for them, we do not steal from them. This principle is also demonstrated in other Scriptures. For example, in the Old Testament, Proverbs 22:22 states: “Do not rob the poor because they are poor, and do not crush the afflicted at the gate.” Leviticus 19:11 commands us to “not steal, nor deceive or exploit one another.” So the law of Moses, the 10 Commandments, required us to be respectful and compassionate. Jesus came to fulfill the law. But it’s not just about the Old Testament…
Today, there are countless ways we can steal from each other. Of course, people still rob people of their material possessions. Also, if we hack into someone else’s internet, we steal from them as well as from the Internet Provider, However, we also steal from others in less tangible ways. One example is when we don’t fulfill our obligations. If you’re on a project team, and you don’t carry your weight, you’re stealing from your team’s productivity. Another example is when we gossip. By spreading rumors and innuendos, we rob others of their reputations and the respect of their peers.
In the New Testament, look to Jesus’ example to appreciate loving others as ourselves. He said anyone who steals must stop and work to have something to give to those in need. (Ephesians 4:28) Another explanation comes in Paul’s letter to the Romans saying, “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:7) It means don’t take and don’t withhold what is due materially, ethically, or spiritually. Through these and other examples, Jesus made it clear that His greatest commandment to love others as He does addresses this condition and all the others.
We plainly see how Jesus’ command to love each other His way fulfills the 8th commandment. When we love our neighbors as ourselves, we respect their rights and don’t steal from them. And bonus: If we concentrate all our efforts on this one thing: loving each other as Jesus loves us, we both avoid violating all the other commandments and clearly fulfill the will of God to live in harmony with our fellow man.