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EBS100: How To Break The Commandment #8

Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #100

Delivered by Eric Butterworth on December 7, 1975

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The Ten Commandments are not just moral restraints; they are guidelines for an integrated life. The word is integrity! Morality deals with accepted rightness. It is a short step beyond that to the rationalization that “everyone is doing it.” The important question is not “what is being done,” but “what is the best I can do?”

This is what Thorton Wilder called, “The incredible standard of excellence.”

The eighth commandment is “Thou shalt not steal.” It would appear to be the most needed commandment of our day, for it deals on the surface with respect for property and right of ownership. It is said that all kinds of stealing in America total well over 30 billion dollars a year...or more than double the combined cost of education on all levels. We should really add the cost of insurance and security, and the stealing of time on the part of workers stretching breaks and lunch periods, falsified sick-days, padded expense accounts, and reduced effort of productiveness. Who pays for all of this? You and I do. It is the great “rip-off.”

In Moses’ time if a man stole an ox, when caught he had to repay the owner with five oxen. There were few thieves in Israel, and no jails. It didn’t pay. Under our system, a man steals a suit. He is arrested, tried (in time), found quilty (sometimes), and put in jail for six months. Society loses the benefit of the man’s work, bears the cost of his arrest, trial, and imprisonment. The victim loses the suit and the cost of the suit many times over in pressing charges, appearing as a witness, etc...everyone loses.

The thief should be dealt with in a way that makes him aware that when he steals he not only makes a rip in the fabric of society that must be repaired, but he steals from himself. Until this is realized, no laws will be effective. He must be confronted with the sobering Truth that the only rip-off is a self-rip-off.

The Commandments were devised as guidelines for near-primitive people. Certainly infants need playpens, teen-agers need curfews, and thoughtless adults may need signs like “keep off the grass.” But children should be prepared for life by making the restraints progressively unnecessary through the development of what Tennyson calls, “Self-reverence, self-knowledge, and self-control.” The word is. integrity!

If a person refrains from stealing only because he doesn’t want to go against God’s commands, his morality may pass the test, but under divine law, he has harbored the thought of stealing so he has already broken spiritual law. When one discovers his oneness with God, with divine law, and with the reality of himself, he achieves personal integrity. The awareness dawns that he can never steal, ever...for he can never get something for nothing. There is always a price to pay.

When one understands spiritual law, he would never take anything that is not rightfully his, fail to fulfill an obligation, or accept an overpayment in change at the store. He knows that there is always a price to pay. Why subject himself to a cost that may not be to his liking or under his control?

In our time of confused priorities the “success-syndrome” is an overwhelming influence. “Getting there” is all-important, no matter by what means. But success is not just “getting there.” It is earning the right to be there. To try to achieve anything without having the consciousness for it is mental theft. We need to let go of the idea of luck or favoritism in life or in the universe. And, it is more true than we may want to admit that much spiritual treatment is trying to pull divine strings to demonstrate things without earning the right in consciousness to have them.

To be healthy,you must have a health-consciousness. To make it, you must “have it.” This refers to the consciousness that attracts. A magnet attracts and holds iron filings. An unmagnetized piece of steel not only attracts nothing, but if filings are piled on, they will fall off at the first jostling. This is not favoritism, or good or bad luck; It is fundamental law.

The greatest fulfillment in life is not in what the magnet attracts, but the inner sense of wholeness that comes from being “in the flow.” To achieve the good that we humanly desire, and sometimes take short cuts to get, we need to “create the conditions that make the results inevitable.”

Your education is never complete until you understand the law of being—that whatever happens to you or around you will always be in accord with your consciousness. And, whatever is in your consciousness must happen, no matter who tries to stop it. Whatever is not in your consciousness cannot happen. Of course, you can change your consciousness. And that is what this “new insight of Truth” is all about.

If you try to take a short-cut to get or achieve something, breaking the legal law is only a part of the problem. In your consciousness there is a feeling of lack or a falling from your integrity. This is the cause, which will lead to un-believeable problems. If there is a need no matter how desperate, instead of trying to “get” by any means, start giving. Give way to the flow of your own inner resource. In the long run the only way to overcome the tendency to engage in human or spiritual stealing is to learn how to give. Think give instead of get.

At the heart of the eighth commandment is the realization that you can never get something for nothing. There is always a price to pay. You may see someone else “get away with it.” But there is much that you do not know about the price he or she is paying or will pay. “What is that to thee, follow thou me.”

The: word is integrity! Oneness with God and with divine law. Don’t try to get something for nothing, in your work, in gambling, even in prayer. Don’t put the emphasis on the iron filings, but on building the attracting povrer of your inner magnet. “To him that hath shall be given.”

© 1975, by Eric Butterworth

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