If you steal a pack of gum from a supermarket, who are you stealing that gum from?
Is it the supermarket? Is it the gum company? Is it the packaging company? Is it the farmers who harvested the sugar for the gum?
I don’t know. I don’t know that it matters.
A lot of people point to the Ten Commandments as if they are easy to understand, but even the easy ones are difficult to understand.
Do not steal.
That seems pretty easy, but when the Israelites received that commandment, there wasn’t a real monetary system. When an Israelite stole something from his neighbor, he was stealing something that his neighbor needed to survive – food, cattle, tools. In America, that very rarely holds true.
When a gang member peddles stolen cars, who is he hurting? He is the victim. His community is the victim. The person he sells the car to is the victim, not Ford or Hyundai or Honda.
Stealing now is not a sign of criminality, a sign of immorality, a sign of godlessness. It is a sign of a broken system. It’s a symptom. We need more curative treatments and less band-aids.