You shall not steal (Exodus 20:15)
“It’s not that simple,” mumbled Brenda to the Judge. “I had to steal the bread to feed my baby. I had no other choice.”
What Brenda didn’t know is that the baker was going to sell the bread that day to buy milk for his baby.
When Brenda stands before God, does He make an exception for her stealing?
The 1970s saw the rise of situational ethics in the American mind. Situational ethics is the idea that morality is not fixed or absolute, instead right and wrong, good and evil, all shift depending on personal circumstances. It suggests that there are times (situations) when stealing, for example, is acceptable and may even be the moral thing to do.
Situational ethics is contrary to the Word of God.
Consider the Oregon man who robbed a bank to get free healthcare in jail (here) or the man who committed murder to steal his victim’s shoes because he couldn’t afford them (here). What about the woman who prostitutes her body because she can’t find here dream job (here – caution for language and content), or the child who lies about being abused to protect a parent (here)? Think of the Ivy League students at Columbia who sell drugs to pay for their university education (here).
In each of these cases you’d be told that the situation made the act legitimate. Someone was sick, couldn’t earn money, or was unqualified for any other work. God determines right from wrong – not our circumstances.
There are always other options. It may mean giving up your dream of owning a pair of Air Jordans. You may need to take a second job or sell your car and walk to work. We either hold fast to our faith in God – that He is good and provides for our needs – or we manipulate to get our own way. We either trust His direction in our lives or we will stand before the Judge trying to justify our disobedience.