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 145:9 ).
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?