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KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “Former NBA star Charles Barkley recently drew national attention with his candid comments referring to the envy between ‘successful blacks’ and others in the community, referring to ‘crabs in a barrel’,” noted Crown CEO Chuck Bentley. “Mr. Barkley was referring to an African Proverb – ‘Put one crab in a pot and it will escape. Put two crabs in a pot and neither will escape.'”  

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In a piece at American Thinker, Bentley observed: “The point of this proverb is that envy destroys everyone.  Whatever your reaction to Barkley’s perception of an issue in his community, envy and covetousness are actually national problems. Americans have difficulty remembering, much less keeping, the 10th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Covet.”

This often-overlooked, last of the Ten Commandments impacts not only consumer behavior, it is reshaping federal policy and poisoning American culture along with its economic future.

Fundamental to the Judeo-Christian principles that founded this nation was an understanding that people were uniquely created for a purpose and commanded to make something of themselves and the world they were given. All were encouraged to be fruitful and multiply, subduing the uncivilized earth, leaving it better and more developed than they found it. All were instructed to be content with what their own hands produced, not looking over the fence to see what they could get from their neighbor.

“But today’s cultural leaders argue not for a level playing field of opportunity, but equal outcomes without regard to effort or ability,” noted Bentley. “Political and economic leaders talk about people’s resources as jealously as feuding relatives at the reading of a will.”

Certainly, whole industries exist to stir up envy and desire among consumers. U.S. advertisers spent more that $171 billion on paid media in 2013, according to eMarketer. That kind of bombardment can encourage massive consumer debt and strangled family finances, as people go too far, too fast.

“America needs to reflect on the 10th commandment to escape from the energy and talent drain of crabs fighting to hold each other back,” said Bentley.

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To learn more about the transformational economic lessons found in the Bible, through innovative online classes and materials, visit Crown Connect, an innovative product from Crown Financial Ministries. For interviews, e-mail: media@crown.org.

Chuck Bentley is also a best-selling author. Follow him, @chuckbentley.

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