Like the prohibition against murder, the eighth commandment should be a no-brainer. “You must not steal” (Exodus 20:15). By this time in your life, you are fully aware of the laws against taking things that don’t belong to you. Perhaps you even know of a person who has been arrested for shoplifting. Maybe you know what it feels like to have something taken from you that is yours.
What’s the attitude behind stealing anyway? One attitude of those who steal insists on demanding their own way whether they’ve earned it or not. There’s a sense of entitlement that claims “I deserve this” or “They have plenty already” or “They won’t miss this one thing.” It’s plain and simple selfishness.
Another attitude behind stealing is self dependency. This attitude leads to stealing because they believe that there is no one who will provide for their needs. Therefore, they take care of their own needs using any means necessary.
Ultimately, obeying the command against stealing is about showing respect for others. One of the worst ways you can disrespect another person is to take something from them that is not rightfully yours to take. I think a person can even steal from another by simply not taking care of things they borrow. But a person can also show disrespect by taking the reputation or dignity of another person by using words that diminish and tear down. By spreading false things or passing the blame, a little bit of their reputation is stolen.
If you think about this command in a broader sense you’ll realize that #8 is not just about taking stuff. It’s about showing respect to others and yourself.