“Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry.
But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold;
he shall give all the substance of his house.”
Circumstances may put a person in such a difficult position that he feels he has no option but to do something wrong in order to survive. A man who steals to feed his family, for instance, is not condemned by others because people know they would probably do the same wrong thing in the same difficult circumstance.
It is the man who chooses evil when he is not under pressure to do so that is condemned by society, and rightly so. “Let them be ashamed”, said David, “who transgress without cause!” (Ps. 25:3b).
But there is something else to consider. What about those who are hungry but refuse to steal? What about those who suffer, but keep God’s commandments anyway? This path, the path of stubborn righteousness and faith toward God, is open to everyone who is suffering. Men may not despise a thief if he steals because he is hungry; still, God will judge his sin because the path of faith was available to him, if he had wanted to take it.
In God’s eyes, there is no excuse for sin, even though people will not condemn sin in certain circumstances. The soul is wise who chooses to do good in hard times instead of doing evil and blaming hard times for it. For God will reward us all according to our works, whatever our circumstances.