'We won't press charges' Church offers help to burglars - | WBTV Charlotte

'We won't press charges' Church offers help to burglars

HARRISBURG, NC (WBTV) -

In Luke Chapter 6 of the Bible, there’s a particular verse that speaks directly to what happened at Hope City Church in Harrisburg.

“If someone comes and steals your coat, go the extra mile and give them your shirt as well,” said lead Pastor Robbie McLaughlin.

Every year the church collects funds during their Christmas service, for the sole purpose of giving the money to someone less fortunate.

Parishioners donated thousands of dollars at the December 23rd service and less than a week later, someone broke in to try and steal it.

“Fortunately, the majority of it had already been deposited into the bank prior to the burglary, and the thieves made off with a much smaller amount,” the Church wrote in a news release.

Sometime between Christmas Day and the Monday following it, someone broke into the church office, busted into two safes and stole cash. They left all the valuable electronics and computers untouched.

“It was obvious this person was in a desperate situation and needed quick cash,” Pastor McLaughlin said.

Instead of seeking the thief for the purpose of sending them to jail, the church is hoping that person or persons will come forward and accept help.

The church posted a message on its Facebook which has been shared hundreds of times.

The following is an excerpt from a news release that speaks directly to the perpetrator:

"We realize that for you to rob a church, on CHRISTMAS no less, you must be in a pretty desperate situation, and our heart breaks for you. In the sixth chapter of Luke's Gospel, Jesus says that if someone steals your coat, take your shirt, and give it to them as well. This is because Jesus' greatest desire for His followers is to be moved with compassion towards desperate and hurting people...because that's the heart and character of His father," church officials wrote.

"So in keeping with the command of our savior, and because our heart truly does go out to you, we would like to ask you to come forward and turn yourself in. Not because we want to report you to the police, we won't. Not because we want to publicly shame you, we won't. In fact, we'll keep your confession private," they said. "And not because we want the money back. Quite the contrary. We want to help. For you to take the measures you did, against a church who recently collected a BENEVOLENCE OFFERING, you obviously need some support during a very desperate season of your life. And we want to be that support."

"If you need food, we want to provide grocery gift cards. If you need temporary housing, we want to help you find it. If you need counseling, or to get into any type of rehabilitation program, we want to pay for it," church officials continued. "Whatever you need, we desperately want to help. And the only way we can is for you to come forward.  We pledge our commitment to love you, serve you, and care for you unconditionally."

Pastor McLaughlin is hoping the thief will contact him directly at the church office or email him at robbiem@hopecityonline.net.

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