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Christian Charity

Should I keep giving Christian charity (financial help) to someone who is abusing it?

A few years ago, a family approached their local church asking desperately for help to pay their rent and an offering was taken up. At the end of the year, the family who had asked for help flew-off on holiday, whilst those who had given to help them could not afford a holiday.

The church learnt a quick and painful lesson – these people were not too poor to pay their rent, they were in fact very bad managers of their money, for they had placed pleasure (a holiday) above their basic needs (a home), and they expected other Christians to support their financial mismanagement.

In 1 Timothy 5:10-13, the Apostle Paul explains that Christian charity is conditional. The Bible reveals that Christian charity is designed to help people who are in need; however, it was never designed to relieve people of their responsibility to work hard, earn a living, plan a budget and be frugal.

Christian charity was designed to be a hand-up to those who can’t help themselves; it is not a safety-net for those who refuse to help themselves. Paul is equally clear that everyone must work, so that they can help other people who are in need. ‘He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.’ Ephesians 4:28.

However, Rees Howells in his book Rees Howells Intercessor was taught to live-out the manifold grace of God towards the needy. Rees Howells worked very hard as a miner and gave most of his money away to provide homeless people with a new set of clothes, lodgings and he helped them get a job. But some people abused his gifts and sold the clothes, coming back for more! On another occasion he helped a homeless family off the street, but later they refused to help Rees by lodging another homeless family when the house was large enough. Rees continued his work despite the abuse of the Holy Spirit’s generosity working through him.

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