Christian Excuses: They will just use it on Drugs
American Christians have become accustomed to government programs supplanting their responsibilities to care for the needy. We avoid accountability by voting for people that promise to help the needy in the way that best aligns with our political beliefs.
Yet, the problems of poverty and homelessness continue to rise because the government has a proven track record of screwing up anything they touch. That is why Jesus gave this responsibility to his people, not to the government.
In Matthew 5:42, Jesus says, "Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you."
We all know that this verse exists, but we close our eyes to it, make excuses or 're-interpret' it to better fit our American worldview. This teaching is one of those uncomfortable commands in scripture because it is in complete opposition to our American individualism. Americans have always valued a rags-to-riches story, but we prefer the ones where the protagonist pulls himself up by his bootstraps. But there are some compelling reasons why Jesus gave us these instructions.
It's the Churches responsibility
We are the ones who are supposed to be reaching out a helping hand. When the government reaches out to help, they either 1) expect something in return or 2)they are giving you help from someone else's pocket. So, it's disingenuous.
When we Christians offer help, we are not supposed to be doing it for our benefit. We are making a personal sacrifice to help our fellow man. I am convinced that if the saints sitting in the pews on Sunday would willingly get involved to help people struggling with poverty, we could reduce the problems in this country exponentially. In doing so, we would also bring glory to Jesus name.
Impacting Spiritual Poverty
Not only that, we could offer some hope that could affect their spiritual poverty. All of us understand spiritual poverty because we are continually pulled in that direction by our sinful nature. We feel the pull away from the King of kings to hang out in the gutter. We pursue our self-destructive behaviors even when we know better.
But the more time you spend with the King, the more comfortable you become with your adoption into the King's family. You eventually find freedom in your newfound spiritual wealth, but it takes time. If you obey this command and you give them money, but you neglect their spiritual poverty, you have missed out on a huge opportunity to make a lasting impact.
What if it isn't about them?
I think it is a mistake just to take this command at face value, what if the purpose of this command is not to help the poor? What if it is about your attitude?
Let me explain. When I was single and living in the jungle in the late 90's I was walking through a jungle town when I encountered a blind beggar who was seated leaning against a wall with his skinny legs pulled underneath him and his hand outheld.
I had seen him dozens of times, but this time I felt the Lord prompt me to help this man. I remember hearing the Lord prompt me to give him the equivalent of $30. In my mind, I thought, 'what's he going to do with $30?! That seems like too much." So I gave him about $3 instead.
The next day I went on a trip deep into the jungle for a few months. The Lord convicted my heart for my selfish attitude. I was miserable, I had been disobedient and thought my idea was better than Gods. When I got back to that city months later, I found the blind man and I gave him the $30. What I learned through that process was that it was more about my obedience than it was the mans need. I've never forgotten that.
Jesus said that "we would always have the poor with us." So, maybe the purpose of this command was not to solve poverty forever. Perhaps it was about preparing people who are entirely devoted to Loving God and their fellow man.
Some of those you give to will be undeserving, just like you were when you received the gift of eternal life.
They may use it for drugs or booze, be wise in how you give, there are sometimes better options than money.
Stop making excuses and Give to those in need.
It is one of the most Christlike things you can do. Jesus was an expert in giving extravagant gifts to undeserving and sinful people.
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