In proverbs 6:30-31, we read, “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.” Imagine that! A starving man would steal bread to survive. But, think of a man with a family. How much more may he be tempted to take what he and his children need to survive. His internal suffering caused by watching his children and wife starve to death might be more than he could take. So, he might choose to break not only his own but God’s moral code and steal so his family may live. The wisdom of the proverb says that one will not look down on the man for what he has done for himself as the proverb states, but how much more might we have mercy on the one with a suffering family. Here is the rub. If he is caught, and he probably will be, he will need to restore seven times what he has taken or at least an equivalent amount. In Exodus 22, we see instructions giving restitution, and it is normally double not seven times the amount. Even double would destroy this home. This will leave the man and his family worse off than before he made the hard choice to steal from another. Does he know it is wrong to steal? Of course, he must, yet he does it anyway. Yes, is it wrong to take what is not yours, and we need to restore what we have taken as we see in Exodus 20:15. Please, do not misunderstand my intention, but consider this before you jump to a judicial conclusion. Jesus said, “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Put yourself in the place of the staving person. Imagine, at the same time, you are responsible for others. Would you steel to survive? How would you want your community to treat you if you did? With hate and contempt or with love and mercy? Christian, I do think the greater lesson is not so much about the man who steals but rather about his community that let him starve in the first place. A man, woman, or a family should not be suffering to the point of starvation if their neighbors love them as we are commanded in the scripture. Never forget, it is not about rules but relationships. It is not about law but love. Taking care of the needs of those around you is loving your neighbor as yourself and thus fulfills all the law and the profits. Real actionable love can also keep a man from stealing bread to survive—just a thought.