Stealing Bread to Feed Dying Family Members

Was talking with my son about being thankful.

Before going up to “put him to bed,” I was reading a book on The Hundred Years War. After many battles, before they could go bury the dead, the local peasants had already stripped the dead of all belongings.

There was such poverty and inequality in society then, that people would steal from dead bodies for survival.

“Is that a sin to steal from dead people?” my son asked.

Well, that’s a tough one. I’d have to be in a pretty bad spot to steal off of dead bodies. But that society was so messed up I can’t really blame them. If they didn’t, someone else was going to.

“Does that make it right?” I don’t know. The whole “is it ok to steal a loaf of bread to feed your dying family” ethical question. If my wife is dying, I guess I don’t care if you think it’s wrong, I’m getting my woman some bread.

Life is tough. It’s easy to sit back and be moralistic in the midst of comfort. What is difficult is to be able to weep with those who weep. Imagine being in a spot where you need to steal from dead bodies to survive!

Is the answer to judge their morality as bankrupt, or is the answer to love people who need help and be grateful you don’t have to steal off of dead bodies?

Keep your moralism to yourself. Romans 14:22, “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

Ease up on suffering people. Rather than turning their abject poverty into your ethical question to discuss over coffee and scones, get out there and help.

No, I did not do well in Ethics class at seminary.

2 thoughts on “Stealing Bread to Feed Dying Family Members”

  1. They don’t need it anymore. I think God would be alright with bending any so-called moral rules, since He, Jesus, stated His approval of David eating priestly bread and that God gave Elijah meat and bread using unclean birds (ravens). God breaks His own just rules, depending on the person’s attitude.

  2. Indeed, good examples. There is such a thing as situational ethics. The Bible uses it frequently–when I am with one who is under the law, I act as one under the law, when with one not under law, I act as one not under law. Situations determine ethics all the time.

    Another area where the Bible, rather than giving cut and dry answers, has us living by faith.

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