Luke 6:30

ESV Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
NIV Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
NASB Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
CSB Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, don't ask for them back.
NLT Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.
KJV Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

What does Luke 6:30 mean?

Jesus continues to explain that His followers (John 14:15) will live contrary to the pattern of the world (Luke 6:27–29). Whenever someone asks for a loan or steals, His followers will not demand to be repaid. As with any command from Christ, these lessons are not meant to be applied in immature or caricatured ways. Yet they represent a deep challenge to human nature.

The person who "begs" could be a reference to those who do so literally: the destitute and homeless who ask for help. Those who need help to survive are unlikely to be able to repay in the first place. More likely, Jesus is speaking to the wealthy in His audience who engage in the patronage system. This was a construct Luke and the Gentiles he is writing to would know well. A wealthy man would do favors for someone in need, often by lending money, and the recipient would be on-call to perform favors for the patron. Jesus is saying that His wealthy followers should give to those in need with no strings attached.

This does not mean Christians are to be naïve, ignorant, or foolish in giving charity. We need to be good stewards of the blessings God has given us. The New Testament includes verses contradicting the idea of irresponsible generosity. If someone can work, but refuses to work, they should not be supported by others (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Not even the church should receive our money if it is needed for our elderly parents (Mark 7:1–13). "Take," on the other hand, means to seize by force. Matthew applies this to lawsuits (Matthew 5:40). It can just as easily refer to theft.

We should take all those factors into consideration. Most important, though, is the context of the verse, itself. The emphasis of the verse is not on lawsuits versus begging versus loaning, nor is it advocating charity to the point of carelessness. The passage is about how we should treat our enemies. The last half of the verse, about compensation, informs the character of our generosity. Still, the lesson is that we should be willing to help our enemies as much as our friends—a point made clearer in Luke 6:32–33.

The instruction about not demanding repayment doesn't mean we can't ask people to return things they've borrowed. Nor does it mean we're obligated to do nothing, at all, when others steal, in every situation. Rather, we should carefully consider whether demanding recompense—even to the point of taking the person to court—would best illustrate the love of Christ. Considering the free gift of grace He's given us and the promise of eternal life in paradise (1 Peter 2:21–24), we should be very sure that what we're demanding back is worth "demanding," at all.
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