These verses and many others in
the Bible teach us that Christians are to be loving, merciful, and
self-sacrificing. As we see the needs of people all around us, our hearts
should be full of compassion just as our Heavenly Father has compassion towards
all people. “The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has
made” ( Psalm
It is right to have a heart that would continually give to others, and it
pleases God to see this wonderful characteristic in our lives. However, in this
area of giving and helping, the Bible also teaches that we must have wise
discernment ( Matthew
10:16 ). God gives us certain standards that
we must take into account when it comes to giving our time and money to others.
When the Bible tells us we are to help others, the purpose is never for us to
do this to the point where it becomes detrimental. It’s good to do what we’re
able to do, but 2
Thessalonians 3:10 also reminds us, “If a man
will not work, he shall not eat.” There are people who want to live an
irresponsible lifestyle with absolutely no accountability. So there must be
limits; we will help someone with a need, but if we see that it’s become a
chronic life pattern, it’s wrong for us to continue to encourage that. It’s
very harmful to others to contribute to their indolence, laziness, and lack of effort.
The old saying “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish
and he eats for a lifetime” is very true. As long as we see that someone
is sincerely making an effort, we should be there to support him in whatever
way God leads.
Often, a much more effective way to help others is to come alongside them to
give biblical council, principles and encouragement. If they are willing to
listen and try, they should be able, with the help of God, to reverse this
pattern of dependency on others. This begins, of course, with a clear
presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, without whose empowerment,
lifestyle changes of this magnitude are not possible.
Why would it be better not to give money to one who is in need?