Daily Devotion: Stealing & Dishonest Gain

Exodus 20:15, “You shall not steal.”

We tend to have a narrow understanding of this commandment: not to take what does not belong to us, such as shoplifting, theft/burglary, taking another’s spouse, taking someone’s virginity whilst unmarried (or being married), etc. Luther had a broader understanding of this commandment. In addition to stealing, this commandment prohibits the acquisition of materials via “crooked deals”; and this commandment also requires we help our neighbour “to improve and protect their property and income” (SC, The Ten Commandments, 14; KW 353). Thus, in addition to stealing, dishonest and manipulative acquisition of material possessions are prohibited; and when our neighbour is in danger of losing property, spouse, and income, we are obligated to help them retain it or reacquire it.

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