“Three hijack car left idling” the headline blared from the street pole it had been staked to as I drove past.
“Idiot,” I thought. “Who leaves their car with the keys in the ignition – idling? For heaven’s sake! Did he want it to get stolen. Everyone knows that’s just asking for it.”
As the sentence finished vomiting its bile into my brain, I stopped myself. What was I thinking? I meant the question quite literally. Sure someone’s property is their property. Surely if something is not mine, then it isn’t mine. I won’t touch it. I won’t use it. I won’t break it. I won’t take it. Because it isn’t mine.
I think this is what the Bible means when it tells us not to covet. It’s not about looking at Sandra-from-accounting’s shoes and thinking, “Gosh – those are awesome! I’m getting me a pair of Jimmy Choos!” (Okay, All Stars. Okay, fine. Tommies. Whatever. This is a no-judgment zone, remember?)
Coveting is when we want something that belongs to someone else. And we want it so badly, we’d take it – maybe even hurting someone in the process.
That’s just not okay. No thing of yours – not your stuff, and not your body – belongs to me. And vice versa. I may like something of yours. And that’s fine. As long as that desire leads to positive action, such as working to earn it, saving up to buy it, or getting counselling to get over it.
But what you have is yours, and what I have is mine. And no matter what I do with anything of mine, or what you do with anything of yours, no one else has the right to do anything with it at all.
When we blame the victim of the crime for basically allowing the crime – either by their choices or their actions – we are losing site of the fact that it was a crime. No matter the circumstances, no one has a right to perpetrate a crime against anyone else, and blaming the victim creates the culture that breeds these criminals. It amounts to us saying to them, “Don’t steal from (kill/rape/etc) – oh wait, except for that person. Yeah, they’re totally asking for it. Go wild.”
One day, any of us could make any one of those judgment errors, and I’m pretty sure not one of us would then be okay with someone doing any of those things. No matter where we parked. Or what we did with the car keys. Or what clothes we happened to be wearing.