In Psalm 24:1 we have the basic principle that God owns everything and everybody: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” The apostle Paul quotes this Psalm in 1 Corinthians 10:26, 28 further emphasizing the truth. We sometimes act as if things truly belong to us when they really don’t, and we can get uptight about our “stuff” when someone else encroaches upon it. Many times along with this attitude of ownership, we assign intrinsic value to the stuff that we have. This creates a double error that compounds our problems relative to ownership. It creates sinful jealousy, and leads to greediness, stinginess, and possessiveness.
This attitude can also be transferred onto people. We may begin to think that we own people in our lives, and that they should do as we tell them to do. Perhaps it is easiest to consider our children in this way since they are supposed to obey their parents. Many times, they are willing to do exactly what we tell them to do, and that may reinforce the assumption that we own them. This attitude can create problems with children when they grow up and want to exercise freedom and independence. Many family conflicts can occur because of parents not wanting to “let go.” How much better is it to consider that they belong to God, and that God will use them for His purposes.
This same attitude—that I own another person—may be held toward a spouse. Often it is used to justify our desire to control them. “They belong to me, therefore, they should do what I say.” Both men and women may act like this although it will present in different ways. Again, considering that God owns our spouse will help us to treat them as a person of God, not as our tool to satisfy our own selfish desires.