Moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior

I have a question about Panhandling (the society category seems to be close to that)

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  • I have a question about Panhandling (the society category seems to be close to that)

    My hometown Portland OR has 1800 homeless people (they did some kind of census to count them). How do I know if I should give or not give to these people? I am thinking 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Some of these guys can work, some cannot. I do not know how to tell which is which. Luke 6:30 says give to anyone.

    I don't like the panhandling because not all the people are really in need of food, because some will spend the money on things which make their situation worse, and because they create safety concerns when they stand at every freeway entrance. Additionally, some are very aggressive and hassle the elderly, some to the point of cornering our elderly at ATMs and demanding money; others need much more help and instead of panhandling they should be availing themselves of our countries social service programs (like preganant women, etc)

    Anyway, is it good enough to just give to the food bank and walk past them? This makes Christians look bad. The lack of charity and compassion in some followers of Christ, who are told to be like him, is a horrible thing to watch. 1 John 2:6 Non-Christians use this as a way to attack us. Frankly, prior to my conversion I used the Church's seeming lack of agape or sacrificial love to condemn them. (I sort of still do, downtown I have watched people walk into their church, right past the homeless, and have their service and sing songs, and walk right past them on the way out to their BMWs. God has written his rules on my heart, and this seems very wrong to me, even post conversion. Romans 2:15)

    Unfortunately, I am confronted by the panhandler situation nearly every day. I never know what to do. Sometimes I give them money, sometimes I put my head down and pretend I don't see them. Not a good situation for me, or them, or anyone.

    Is there more biblical teaching on this subject? I know what I think and feel but I want to know what God says in the Bible. I think I exist to bring God glory, so I need to know what he says. If what I do brings him glory than that is the most profitable use of my time and money, but God forbid if this seeming lack of love does our Lord's good name harm, because his child (me or the Church) doesn't know what is right.1 Corinthians 10:23 (there is so much on Gods good name, I don't know where to start the cite)

    NASB 1 Corinthians 10:23
    All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.
    NASB Romans 2:15
    in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
    NASB 1 John 2:6
    the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
    NASB Luke 6:30
    "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
    NASB 2 Thessalonians 3:10
    For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

    (you have built in cites, that is way cool)

  • #2
    I haven't really anything to add. Though, there is an older thread on this subject that you may find some insight: Don’t give money to panhandlers. -Christforums

    God bless,

    • #3
      It is difficult to decide to give to these people, which is why it may be wiser to give to organization within your city that help homeless people.

      There are people who do panhandle for a living. There was an experiment done a while ago in the LA area that highlighted that not everyone who panhandled were actually homeless, and that many people who do panhandle actually make a pretty decent amount of money.

      That is not to say there aren't people who are legitimately in need, but there are places you can donate that are designed to help those people directly.

      • #4
        I am looking for stuff like this Peter 3
        2 And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg [b]alms of those who were entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.

        He was there everyday, presumably Peter walked past him while going in and out of their temple. Why didn't he give before, why then? Is it because he was not a Christian?
        I don't get it. Peter helps him but not until he is good and ready? Or he never noticed him before. Or Peter did not use that gate until that day. Or. Or ??

        What does the Bible want us to do with beggars?

        If I can find even preponderance of evidence I am willing to put that with God knowing my intentions and let it rest, but I don't have any good scriptural support for any decision yet.

        • #5
          Originally posted by marknoo View Post
          I don't get it. Peter helps him but not until he is good and ready? Or he never noticed him before. Or Peter did not use that gate until that day. Or. Or ??
          I'm not going to touch this as though Peter is an example to follow, but rather turn to Scripture for instruction.

          Originally posted by marknoo View Post
          What does the Bible want us to do with beggars?

          If I can find even preponderance of evidence I am willing to put that with God knowing my intentions and let it rest, but I don't have any good scriptural support for any decision yet.
          Consider James 1:27
          • Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

          1 Timothy 5:3-6

          3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn eto show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for fthis is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She gwho is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and hcontinues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but ishe who is self-indulgent is jdead even while she lives. 7 kCommand these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for lmembers of his household, he has mdenied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

          9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been nthe wife of one husband,1 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has nshown hospitality, ohas washed the feet of the saints, has pcared for the afflicted, and has qdevoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when rtheir passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also sgossips and tbusybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have uyounger widows marry, bear children, vmanage their households, and wgive the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 xFor some have already strayed after Satan. 16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those ywho are truly widows.
          Consider the above verses which seemingly states to care for those that are in need of help. But not naively so, let them help themselves first, that is, the widows family should help first. This, to me is showing discernment, for example, if you yourself give all you have to charity and then can't provide for your own are you not worse than an infidel?

          We are to exercise wisdom and discernment. God does not call us to blindly give to every need, but to seek His will on the matter. We are to be good stewards and do our best to ensure that the time, money and talents we give to charity are being used properly. Paul gave Timothy detailed instructions for caring for widows in the church, complete with what type of women should be included on the list and warnings about what could happen if charity was given improperly.

          If panhandlers are asking for money and you instead give a nutrition bar and a bottle of water then you are following 1 Timothy 6:8
          • But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

          If you want to give money that's your preference, but from a Scriptural standpoint we are obligated to see that our fellow man's basic needs are met. Anything else is pure luxury. If there is a food distribution shelter or soup kitchen nearby pan handlers, I personally think I am not obligated to give anymore to them (my volunteer work or funding). It is difficult finding people in pure poverty in the U.S. Society has attempted to redefine poverty. People think if they don't have a cellphone, a car, a house or apartment then they are in poverty. See someone in need of warmth in rain and cold, offer them a rain proof coat or even a poncho which are really inexpensive. Want to buy them an apartment? That's your preference.

          Even in the OT land owners left a certain amount of crops available for those wishing to help themselves to charity. These things are consistent throughout Scripture, unfortunately, our society no longer (in general) considers Scripture proper, but wants to redefine what poverty is and what people are entitled to.

          Here's some context, it works both ways, there is application for both you and the panhandler:

          6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and[c] we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
          God bless,

          • #6
            Very good. This is helpful. I still have to resolve that God requires me to do my best for him, not the least I can do. And to treat people the way I want to be treated. If I were them I would want more than survival. I would also want a means to lift myself up. And I have to figure out how to discern who is really in need.

            But those are secondary issues on this matter. Or they seem to be.

            I think the food bank is fine, indeed, I think it is preferable. I think my "panhandling" question is resolved.

            Thank you.

            I give to Abolition Now, It is an anti-trafficking organization that works in my community.

            The number one reasons people have sex with someone they do not want to is because they need shelter. They are afraid to sleep on the streets, so they perform services in exchange for housing and food.

            Abolition Now is, however, secular. So it is a government task force. I am thinking a "bad tree cannot bear good fruit". Should i be looking for Christian groups who do the same thing. They do exist, but they do not help the people in my town, they have no outreach here.

            So the point is, better to give to Christians or better to give to worldly organizations.

            I still give to the church, but I have outside interests too. Also, I am far more interested in local matters than I am in problems thousands of miles away. Some of the people I know use their giving in Africa as an excuse to do nothing in their own backyards. It is like they want to keep their hands clean. Anyway, they are good people but we just have different priorities on this matter. (my brother is a lot like this)

            Sorry this reply is not well documented. I am in a hurry. I will edit it later if needed. this stuff is important to me so I am probably over eager.
            Last edited by marknoo; 09-27-2016, 12:25 PM.

            • #7
              Originally posted by marknoo View Post
              I still have to resolve that God requires me to do my best for him, not the least I can do.... I have to figure out how to discern who is really in need.
              G'day Marknoo,

              Just sharing some thoughts and ideas, casually...

              Giving to the food bank is a great idea. Really, if my conscience was that convicted, because I worked and needed to walk a few blocks where I was approached by panhandlers, then I might set aside some money each month to buy nutrition bars and bottled water. If you're approached by 3 people on avg carry a sack with nutrition bars and water to hand out when approached. In this way you're not turning anyone away. You'll probably if known in the area observe certain panhandlers no longer approaching you if that's all you give. But I'm just emphasizing that there are many issues and decisions which are a person's preference. Are you required to give money instead of food and clothing? In my opinion money is often a lazy way of giving to charity rather than taking the time to gather food and water and distribute it to those that approach you. People do these kinda things instead of taking time out of their life to visit the widows and orphans, and give to those on the street. To me it is no wonder that panhandlers take advantage of people's laziness.

              As for charity organizations, I'd look into Compassion and then World Vision. Find out what your church does with your tithe, do they give to the local community, if so in which way, do they need help? But this isn't going to resolve the issue of those around you or that approach you on the street. Set aside x-amount of money to buy some necessities from Costco, and just carry a back pack with some nutrition bars and water, or volunteer your time once or twice a month at a soup kitchen. There you'll discover all kinds of things. People receive state benefits and SS, because they can't handle money or have dependency problems they usually are not at the food distribution shelters at the beginning of each month, but rather at the end of each month after they spend the money. Of course this is a generalization, but definitely something that occurs. I live in a very warm climate, so shelter really isn't a problem. Personally, I don't know why homeless don't go buy a tent with their state or SS benefits, and just be more responsible for themselves....

              Just some ideas I thought to pass to you and what I observe. A lot of people on the streets are dependent and abuse substances. I believe God gave us instructions that if kept help us and do not cause additional problems. For example, giving in abundance funds substance abuse, pouring money into the drug dealers, which in turn hurts society, costing tax payers to fund additional police force and facilities to incarcerate people. It is a vicious cycle that occurs because we have forgotten what true poverty vs luxury is or we don't have the time to be bothered ourselves.

              God bless,

              • #8
                Seems like our welfare system is not working(pun). My advice would be if you can spare it, then give it, if not I would not worry about it. If you are concerned that it would go to something different than what you would like, I would offer to buy them a meal, if they take you up on it then you know that your money was well spent, if they do not want a meal, then you may know that their intentions are for something else. Have a blessed day.

                • #9
                  A few miles from me across the border in SC panhandling is illegal as is being homeless and I don't think its right, many of those people lost their homes due to the economic downturn in 08 and as of 2014 any homeless in SC are shipped to jail then the new fema camps, look on youtube for Columbia SC homeless but be warned its scary because were next.

                  In Charlotte 60 miles from me if I were to give a homeless guy a sandwich I go to jail because it makes him not want to better himself instead hell keep begging and apparently I am responsible for that.

                  Nowadays if Christ would do it its taboo, wrong, and a jailable offense which they don't scare me.

                  As far as how you would know, you wont you would have to give in faith and let God take care of the rest.

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JSB View Post
                    As far as how you would know, you wont you would have to give in faith and let God take care of the rest.
                    I agree with you JSB, and welcome back, you were missed!

                    God bless,
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