You shall not steal. Beware of this: The poor man will come to you (there are so many now). When you are harsh to him and when you turn him away with pride and arrogance to whom you ought to give things without payment, he will go away sorrowful. He will cry and call to Him who takes care of the poor, sorrowful hearts. He will not allow them to go unavenged [Isaiah 61:1-3]. But if you despise this, see the One you have brought upon you.
We have warned, and protested enough. Yet it must be impressed upon the young so that they may be careful not to follow the old lawless crowd, but keep their eyes fixed upon God's commandment, lest His wrath and punishment come upon them too. But to check greediness the government should take note and have the courage to establish and maintain order in all kinds of trade and commerce. They must do this lest the poor be burdened and oppressed.
This is an explanation of what stealing is. Let the commandment not be understood too narrowly. It applies to everything that has to do with our neighbors. Briefly, in summary this is what is forbidden: (a) To do our neighbor any injury or wrong (by hindering, and withholding his possessions and property), or even to consent or allow such injury. Instead, we should prevent it. (b) It is commanded that we improve his possessions. When they suffer lack, we should help and share, both to friends and foes (pars. 247-251)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.