This is a hard post to write because it is about NOT helping the needy. The Bible says to be prepared, be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove so that when this “world’s systems” fail you, you can minister to others instead of becoming a victim yourself! But, ministering to others has problems of its own. We need to guard against false teaching and burn out, and protect what God has entrusted to us so we can help the truly needy.
Proverbs 3 talks about helping those who “deserve” it – not helping the mindless users who choose a pattern of self-focused living, lacking discretion, gravitating toward abuse of drugs, etc. So, I have a dilemma for YOU. Should you help a person in need, every time? The Bible teaches there are times that you have to avoid people who “walk in darkness”.
When you make a judgement call and say, “In this case I am not helping this person”, are you going to be able to point to scripture to support your actions when you are accused of being “un-Christian”? The truth is, the resources and gifts God gave you are NOT to go to every needy person in EVERY CASE. How about a person that is unrepentant and is going through hard times due to their life choices!? Should you help them whenever they ask? If you indiscriminately help anyone, everyone, every time, then when it comes time to help that true widow, hungry child, repentant drug addict, you will have to turn them away because you will have spent your resources on someone else.
You have the ability to discern in your spirit between someone who looks needy on the outside but is truly not “worthy” of your help. (Read Proverbs 3). Rest assured you will be accused of being uncaring and un-Christian when you withhold your help from these people. When an unrepentant person is experiencing hard times because they are only reaping what they sowed, people will demand you help them and charge you with being un-Christian if you don’t. They may not know it, but they are actually attempting to steal from God’s resources – resources that should go to someone else who is truly needy. They will get angry with you, and even threaten extortion if you don’t give, give, give. So be ready to firmly say no and pray for them.
You have to be strong because you will also be accused of “judging” if, based on your assessment, you are choosing not to help a person in need. I would say YES, I am judging (better to say, exercising my discretion) because I’m commanded to be a “fruit inspector” so I can discern what is the will of God for my life! If more people knew the scriptures better, we would be helping a lot less people the wrong way! By observing circumstances and listening to your spirit, you can witness if a person is in a “lifestyle” of taking, (continually exercising poor judgment) causing their hard times. This is NOT the same distress as a person who is truly needy!
So the important skill to have is to be able to discern correctly between the truly needy and those playing the “taking game”, and be prepared to ignore the criticism that you are “not helping the needy” when you don’t help these people.
If you’re sure you are doing what God wants you to do (in the area of giving and helping, or not) then these critics are just ignorant, and you have to be patient with them. 1st John and Peter say to avoid some so called “brethren”. This is really hard. You need to have pity on them though because what these people have feared has come upon them – the product of their life choices – the destruction that follows an unrepentant life. It’s really sad when a person’s sins find them out as you watch them suffer the consequences, but there is always time to repent and be restored. We have to remember, prayer changes things, and obedience to God is a responsibility of a true disciple of Christ.