Should you give to beggars?

Should you give to beggars?I think it is worthwhile to play devil’s advocate and look at situations from both sides and giving to the poor is an issue that most everyone will deal with at some point in their lives.

Working within the city limits I run across homeless guys often, in fact I have seen one guy begging every morning, on the same corner for at least the last two years.

I have talked to him a little bit too, and it seems to be a similar situation.

I have given him some food from time to time, but I wonder if I am doing more harm than good.

Obviously, the Bible makes it very clear that we are to give to the poor . There are countless verses to support this.

But, it also says in 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.”

What if by giving to a beggar it was actually HARMING them, by only perpetuating the problem?

Genuine love doesn’t always do what people want, it does what is BEST for them. Just as a loving mother wouldn’t let her toddlers play with a loaded gun even if they really wanted to, maybe loving some beggars is to NOT give them food or money. I know it sounds absurd, but that is why I am bringing it up (Devil’s advocate, remember?). Could it be possible that some beggars(who are fully capable of working) would stop begging and get motivated to get a job, if people didn’t keep giving to them.

I am not sure if it is true or not, but I heard that the “Naked Cowboy” from New York City collects over $250,000 a year from basically just being a beggar with “style.” If a “normal” beggar is getting plenty of cash from begging, then why should the look for a job?

Just as with any addiction, the difficulty of breaking it is based on the length of time that it has existed. If this is the case, then giving to a beggar is “addicted” to laziness could actually be harming them by sustaining the “addiction.” If no one gave to him, he would have more incentive to find a job.

The tricky thing about this is that we never know the whole situation and we have to be led by the Holy Spirit when making these decisions. After all, who are we to judge? God knows what is going on in the beggar’s life and what will help them the most.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.

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  1. Cory

    Give to the poor – definitely. But I’ve only once given to a beggar. All honesty, it’s a little scary to give to someone who approaches you on the street. (It’s equally scary to buy from someone who approaches you from a kiosk in the mall – “Pardon me sir, but can I see your hands?”)

  2. bob

    @ Cory
    Yea, I agree with you it can be dangerous. That is why every situation is a unique one.

    On another note, I did a quick study of beggars in the New Testament and every example of beggars I found in the New Testament had a physical ailment, that led to their inability to work. I thought that was interesting.

  3. plonkee

    I wouldn’t call homeless people who are begging, beggars. I don’t think that its right. Its usually considered that you are better to donate money to a charity that supports the homeless (or buy the Big Issue if its in your city) than to give money to people begging on the street.

    • Lela Powell

      So many Charities are not what they say they are- the top takes a big
      pay day first. People should go to work able bodied people are retiring on disability every day. Obama wants all to be dependent on the government so the people will be servants. I believe in helping the really needy the Bible tells us to help it also says if you don’t work you don’t eat. The Bible teaches us to give from the heart not government to steal from working people and give to lazy people. I am 83 and we worked sick or well to eat and buy a few clothes lived
      on a crude farm with no electricity growing up and I heard no complaining and expecting the government to take of us. We are like the Roman Empire on the verge of going under.

  4. DivaJean

    It’s always upsetting to me to see so-called Christians come up with ways to justify why they don’t help people in need. The Good Samaritan story didn’t show us to come up with reasons why not to help- it’s just about helping. The Samaritan didn’t say “Oh well, get a job loser!”- he helped. This is Jesus’ greatest example of who and how we are to help. HOWEVER POSSIBLE. A mentally impaired street person may not have the wherewithall to hold a job- or even be able to access social programs depending on his condition. Do you turn away and do nothing? Sounds like it from some of the results above. I might buy the person a coffee and donut or a sandwich, depending on the time of day- and then direct them to our families church, where we have a food cupboard and a clothing closet.

    • Maria

      Amen! Diva Jean. Right on! I love your response. I’ve been so convicted to help people on the side of the road and its been hard to keep on driving when Holy Spirits saying, “Help him! I put him right in your path today.” Theres a reason why we have a panicky feeling in our gut and are waiting for the light to turn green so we can drive on by. Being a woman it can be hard to approach people, but Your words are a good reminder. Thanks for being a confirmation today.

    • Art

      Not all homeless people are mentally impaired and they do know how to access social programs. The majority of the are on public assistance programs. The turly disabled or mentally impaired people need help but those with drug/alcohol addictions or those who don’t want to work but to to be unproductive members of society shouldn’t be encouraged to continue that.

    • Evette

      You are correct, not all homeless people are mentally impaired but do you not realize that you have to have an ID of some sort to get any type of government assistance? You have to have an address as well. That would immediately disqualify most displaced people that you say should apply for “social programs”. My mother always told me that when you give, you should give from the heart. It does not matter where they are spending it or what they are doing with it. Your job is done because you tried to help. When we start to analyze every situation and every person we are making reasons to NOT give.

    • Lloyd

      _so true..God bless you..

    • Lela Powell

      He was hurt any descent person would have helped. do you want America to fall paying for laziness

    • Jason

      I agree – help where you can. Regardless of the reasons, it takes des parathion for someone to ask for money from strangers – and right there is reason enough to help – ‘whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me’ …. One of these people you decide to “help” by ignoring is your lord and savior here on Earth … Will you just simply walk on by?

  5. Clever Dude

    DivaJean, I think your response was a bit harsh, but your point is valid. Don’t focus on just Christians. Everyone should live up to a higher standard, whether they’re religious or atheist, so pointing fingers at supposed hypocrisy isn’t the right course of action.

    But back to your point, I’d like to add that you can’t always pick out those who are in need due to a mental or physical handicap versus those who are just lazy. I agree both with this article that it might be perpetuating laziness, but it’s probably not our job to judge whether the person is able or not. It’s just our job to help them if they ask for it (keeping our safety in mind), and let God choose how to direct that person further.

  6. glblguy

    @DivaJean – Regarding your “so-called Christians”, please read Matthew 7:1-5 and John 8:7. Shame on you for judging a brother without evening knowing him. I think if you would take a few minutes to read Bob’s blog, you’ll find you are very wrong indeed.

    @Cleverguy – well put.

  7. Laura

    As others have pointed out, it is possible to help the poor by giving to ministries that work with the poor. Near us, we have a food pantry. That’s an excellent opportunity to help the poor and chances are slim that it will be abused.

  8. DivaJean

    “maybe loving some beggars is to NOT give them food or money.”

    How am I to see this any other way? This is HARSH- judging whether someone is worth your help. Jesus didn’t come to us and say- “Be as paternalistic as hell and add qualifyers to anything you do, expecting some sort of payoff.” He said love. Love doesn’t judge whether someone deserves or not, it just gives and gives.

    I can tell I am making huge mistakes in investing effort here at this site!

  9. bob


    I wish I could sit down with you and discuss this whole thing. The truth is that I am merely posing a question – In my personal life I have made the decision that I am going to give those who ask and let God deal with them if they are in the wrong. So please don’t misunderstand the post as an excuse not to give, because it is not that at all.

    It is a question of how best to LOVE someone. I probably didn’t explain it well enough, but when I said, “maybe loving some beggars is to NOT give them food or money.”
    I did not mean that we should just ignore them – it means doing whatever is best for them, whatever will help them solve their problems. Just two weeks ago, I did just what you suggested stopped and offered to take the guy out to lunch (he turned me down) and talked to him for 15 minutes about improving his situation.

    So, I am not going to spend all day defending myself, but the point is to LOVE people and do what is best for them LONG TERM – I don’t know what that answer is a lot of times, hence the reason for the question.

    Good point.

    I agree with your statement as well…

  10. Anca

    My city started a campaign to educate people to “give smart” ( Not all beggars are homeless or in “need” of our spare change. Some ask for money for food but use it to buy alcohol and drugs. For others, panhandling *is* their “job” — only they’re not doing any work in exchange for your hard-earned income. They’re scamming you. (I wish I could remember the article I read on this recently.) By giving to the shelters and foodbanks in your city, your money is helping more people and helping people who really need it until they can get back on their feet.

  11. ChrisB

    I wrote about a similar topic a little while back. Some might find it helpful.

  12. Liz

    I have two thoughts on this. One is that if you haven’t read it, give “Down and Out in Paris and London” by George Orwell a try. A really excellent book that makes you think about this issue in another way.
    I am always a little conflicted when I see people begging. Part of this is that I went to college in a place where every day I had to cross a street where there were many, many people begging. While it is well and good to say that you should give to those who ask, there was no way to do that. So the question becomes how to give, to whom to give. I still don’t have a good answer.
    From my limited experiences working in the non-profit sector, however, I can tell you this. There are always people who abuse the system. It doesn’t matter if it is a charity that works directly with people, disaster relief, environment. A portion of every dollar will be spent poorly. It may be stolen. Projects that are designed to help may in fact harm (the dilemma you write about). At my last job I got disillusioned by this (and I worked for a very good charity with spartan offices, a strong moral code, who really worked to get bang for every donated buck). Someone there told me that the Dalai Lama wrote about this (I’ve never checked) and came to the conclusion that you have to try anyway. You have to give, knowing that a portion of your donations will be abused. If enough people do that, good can be accomplished despite the abuse that will occur.
    Good luck with your dilemma : )

  13. bob


    Thanks for commenting on this, you bring a unique perspective as someone who has had a bit more experience with this issue than most of us… It is such a tricky situation and that is why I am convinced that we need God’s help to find out what to do each time we encounter it.

  14. Brooke

    I think it is best to always err on the side of generosity. As someone said previously, I believe that it is up to us to always be as giving as we can with our time, talents, money, whatever we are blessed with… if somebody else takes advantage of those things or abuses our generosity, it is for God to deal with in the end. This does not mean that I am naive to the reasons for another’s lack of resources (whether it is laziness, substance abuse, etc). The bottom line is that I always try to show kindness to these people. Even if they are just being lazy, or a drunk I still feel sad for the situation they are in.

  15. Brooke

    sorry, I had to just add, I have been a social worker for almost 8 years. I too know from experience that many people abuse the systems of charity but I still think that it is not up to us to give up on trying to make the world a better place, like Liz said.

  16. Dana

    @Diva Jean, I think it is a bit rough to be so judgmental about an entry that begins by talking about playing devil’s advocate. The fact is that many people are in poverty because of their own choices. Many refuse to work. Is it “un-Christian” to search scripture for an answer and to test different verses to see what was said? And the case of the Good Samaritan does not really fit, because the man he helped was near death, not refusing to work.

    Bob, I think the one thing I would point to in this discussion is that this verse in particular is directed at the church and is talking about believers who are idle. I am not sure it applies to the needy outside the church.

    Looking at how poverty was handled in the bible is interesting. In the Old Testament, the corners of the field were set aside for the poor to glean from. In other words, they worked for their food.

    I don’t really know exactly what the answer is, but it is an interesting question to explore.

  17. bob

    I agree, I think it is better to err on the side of being generosity –

    Nice comment, I think you bring up some interesting points… Honestly, I haven’t studied the verse and the context very thoroughly – I was tossing it out there for discussion, as you mentioned, playing devil’s advocate.

    I am so happy that we have God’s mercy and grace to cover us when we mess up, but I think scripturally one could argue that God expects us to make the most of what we have been given (parable of the talents, widow’s mite, etc.)

    So, as I am thinking about this as I am writing, I just keep thinking of more and more things to write about it, but I won’t. It all comes back to LOVE… Matthew 22:36-40

  18. Dana

    It isn’t love to give an alcoholic a drink…it isn’t love to enable people to pursue activities that are destructive to themselves. I do think that aiding the poor with direct money can fall into this. My husband bought a man a knee brace once and watched as he returned to the store to get the refund. He had been scammed. The question is, I guess, do we require someone to work before we give them assistance (assuming they are able), or do we leave it up to God? After all, Christ also says that if a man asks for your overcoat, you should give them your undergarments as well. (I’ve read some interesting things about what that meant, but that is an entirely different post!)

    I like working with ministries who are able to meet all the needs of the poor…education, support, counseling, shelter and food. The ten dollars that I might give to some guy on the street corner does not do him very much good, even if he does use it on food. But there is something distant about it, too.

  19. pastor.T.Padma Rao

    Pastor.T.Padma Rao,
    Rock church, naidustreet,
    A.P. South India.


    Gods Ministers,

    Greetings to you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord for your fellowship and friendship in Jesus Christ Name. We are praying for you.

    I have found out your web site on the internet. Praise the Lord for your Gods service and fellowship. Thank you.

    My full name is Talari Padma Rao, I am doing a senior Pastor for 20 years in our Area.
    I have had studied B.Sc; degree, Physical Education Trained and Biblical Education. When I am doing as a High school teacher, which is Gods was called to me as a full time Gods Minister in His vineyard. I am obeyed to the word of God and my Gods vision. Isaiah= 56: 1 to 7 . So that I have dedicated to the Gospel work for my life. I am doing Gospel work since 1988, feb, 26th 5: P.M. Praise God, Halleluiah and Amen. This is Gods willing for my life. Thank God. Now and then I am independently gospel worker in our Area. I am doing gospel work at NUZVID town. I have had church, and congregation. Also I have had Villages Ministries.

    My wife name is T.Kumari, she has prayerful woman and I have two daughters, they are secular Education finished and now they are studying Bible Education at Bible College.

    We are pray for you, your ministries in prayers. Please send your kindly a few words about your ministries.

    Please reply to me soon,

    Thank you,
    Your brother in Christ,
    Pastor.T.Padma Rao.

  20. bob

    @Pastor.T.Padma Rao
    Thanks for stopping by – I appreciate the prayers, I will be praying to for you and your ministry as well…

    I wish you all the best!!

  21. Darren Busch

    I was once asked for money by a ‘street person’. I asked him ‘what will you use the money for’? He then made an indication with his hand telling me he was going to use the money to drink. My reply to him was: ‘I’ve seen too many people hurt by alcohol and I care about you too much to be a part of that so I will not give you any money’. I believe I made leaps and bounds for the Lord in that man’s life that day! Blindly following scripture without any attempt at discernment is a sign of a legal mentality and is sinful if we know we’re feeding someone’s sinful habits. I’m convinced we’re to give people what they need and what they need is not always what they tell us:
    An alcoholic will tell us they need money or a meal or a place to stay. But let’s face it, they’ve got thus far in their condition! What he might truly need is the life-giving word that breaks him free from their addiction! (just an example here)
    Make no mistake, I’m neither advocating giving or not but that we should be discerning and sensitive to the will of the Father and with that in mind there would be many instances where it would be clear He would not endorse the type of giving we traditionally give.

  22. bob

    Great comment! There really is something to be said for discerning in the situation…

  23. Randall McClure Sr.

    Christian giving in regard to people that avoid work is a thorny issue. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 provides an answer that we should not give up on giving, but we should not also give to people that have the means to support themselves. See commentary on wealth distribution –

  24. Darren

    I’d encourage all you Christians out there to consider the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. With respect to this topic, please consider the state the prodigal had to find himself in before he came to his senses. I often ask the question: “Would the prodigal have turned back if there were some do-gooder Christians in his life and they gave him food, clothing, a roof over his head and all the rest”?? That’s a rhetorical question for you all I hope.

  25. Melissa Michie

    In some places in the world, begging is considered a form of employment.
    If someone is able to stand by a road for hours a day in the cold or hot sun and hold a sign, why not give them some help?
    It is not always easy to find regular employment, especially if you do not have a car, clothes,smell bad or can’t get along in the typical fashion.
    When I see them,I help, sometimes with food, a little cash or some clothing,etc.

    I am a Christian, so to just drive by seems against the nature of Christianity and all Christ taught.

    So what if they are begging?

    They are working.

  26. Calin - about wealthy beggars in Romania

    I live in Romania (Europe) and we are somehow used to see beggars on the street. Sometimes I give them some change, sometimes I do not. Point is, I have seen a very smart sign in one of the cities I visited (Bucharest) and it said:
    “If you knew that a beggar makes 1500 USD/month, will you still give him money?”
    Now, I am aware that no all of them are making this money, but still can make a lot more then a regular salary.
    It could be that some are in a big need, therefore the safe way is to give them food or buying them food on the spot.

    Greetings from Cluj!

  27. bob

    you are exactly right, that you and I don’t know what is best for him – which also means that assuming giving him money will help him is equally as foolish…

    Which is why I wrote in the article … “we never know the whole situation and we have to be led by the Holy Spirit when making these decisions. After all, who are we to judge? God knows what is going on in the beggar’s life and what will help them the most.”

  28. Luke

    Hmm, i am sadden again
    When i read this article i thought that in the comment section i would most likely find a verbal argument between Christians right out in the open for anyone to see. I was not mistaken…

    We must understand that many of these points are very valid, and I agree we must be lead by the holy spirit in order to see who we should help. The reality is some do take advantage of you, i have worked closely with my friends on the street, many have what you can make of a home, many get government subsidies, but they need our love. When we buy them food they may need we have shown them an act of kindness, but they have needs that plunge deep into their soul that no value menu at McDonalds can buy them. They need friendship, acceptance, love. Many of our brothers and sisters on the street have experienced rejection far greater than we can bare to believe. They need to be valued, and it takes more than 5 minutes to do so. They need to be restored, by God through us. Please if you are serious about helping the people you pass by in the street find a way to get involved in their life on a much deeper level. If you are in Toronto look up Sanctuary Ministries they would love for you to come be a part of their community.

  29. Noelle

    I agree with being led by the Holy Spirit when giving to people who are begging. A few weeks ago a boy I’ve seen around town asked me for money outside a grocery store. I had not given him money before. This time I felt led to give him $20. He jumped up and followed me to thank me profusely, saying he needed money to take the bus to Portland (from Salem, OR) and this would get him halfway to the amount he needed. I definitely wait to follow God’s lead when I’m approached by someone asking for money.

    On the other hand, I was stopped at a freeway off ramp where beggars frequently sit, and offered a man a muffin (all I had to give at the time). He refused, saying “my mouth is too dry already”! Obviously he wasn’t extremely needy!

    Thanks for your post 🙂

    • Anna B

      I agree whole-heartily. My heart has always been full of compassion to love an d give, but we have a right both mentally and spiritually to make the right decision when it comes to the matters of the heart. Judging another is not wrong when you execute righteous judgement. And some case of one begging I give by faith (meaning I dont have a clue if they will use the money fairly) and most of the time I let the Spirit of God guide me in my decision making.

  30. Nikki

    I see lots of comments about helping by giving food or tangible items instead of money, as well as about donating to direct service organizations that provide a meal or shelter to those that need it. I think even more important than both these worthwhile things is to address the systemic issues: WHY are there people who are mentally ill and not receiving the care they need? WHY are there people who cannot rely on their families? WHY is it more difficult for some people to find or keep work, through no fault of their own? And what can we do to provide care, encourage and strengthen families, reduce discrimination, help those in poverty get the transportation or write the resume or have the right suit or use the hidden norms of the workplace or make the call or find the childcare or get the skills or overcome any of the other logistical hurdles in their path to stable employment?
    Another perspective: there is a long Christian tradition of those who voluntarily assume poverty, up to and including begging for their daily needs, and we typically consider these people extremely faithful and admire their choice to reject the “love of money”. Then we also have the ingrained Protestant work ethic: if you work hard, you will get what you deserve (therefore if you are poor you must conversely be lazy.) A bit of paradox in our perceptions about poverty there. I think that we have to accept that the Bible has examples of both these positions, which have since been amplified by our own experiences, and we need to look at the complexities of the world we live in to find the best answer about how to view poverty: because how those of us who are privileged perceive the poor affects how we treat the poor.

  31. Arthur Clarke

    I’m from South Africa. I’ve just been to your site because I needed help. I’m a committed Christian. And I give to the poor. The problem is there are millions of poor. Someone But here is my point. You give (generously) to one — and then you’ve had it! Again, and again and again the door bell rings. People won’t take “no” for an answer. They try to wear you out. I want guidelines on when NOT to give. I think I’m going to up my donations to organized charity and never give to individuals again. Any views?

  32. JoeTaxpayer

    I told Jane 2.0 (my 11yr old) a story;
    Two men of the cloth are walking in a city. One pulls out a dollar for every hand out. The other just keeps his hands in his pocket.
    The non-giver says that he’d rather donate to organized charity, on the chance that one of the beggars will buy alcohol or drugs.
    The giver replies he’d rather give to everyone in the hope that even one will buy food.

    On our last trip to the city, my daughter brought ten singles and said we’d take turns giving to anyone who asked.

  33. Opv

    I appreciate the post, and the comments. This is an issue with which I have struggled for years. I can appreciate the approach that we should give with a heart for Christ and not fret so much with whether we are being “taken,” so to speak. Of course, that’s easier for one-time situations. It is not so easy for those situations that arise repeatedly. That’s where my difficulty arises. I have a dear brother in Christ who has repeatedly come to me for help. I have been warned by his blood brother that he has a history of that practice with people in the churches he’s attended. So, where does one draw the line, or does he? How many times do you help the same person when he is asking not for a couple of bucks but for substantial assistance?

    While it is true that the story of the Good Samaritan admonishes us to demonstrate Christian love and charity, it does not at the same time instruct us how to balance such acts of kindness with Paul’s commandment set forth in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which states, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Therein lies my struggle.

    Thanks again for raising the question.

  34. Arthur Clarke

    I found this verse which has helped me. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.” (RSV). Another translation has for ‘not…under compulsion’, the phrase “without pressure”. Perhaps it’s a matter of deciding unemotionally ahead of time how to handle things . It’s still not easy often.

    • Dara

      Arthur, that is an excellent Scripture reference! I think the decisions of when to give or not to give are individual ones that Christians do not make alone (by the guidance of the Holy Spirit). I trust my Father more than anyone and there have been times when I have said yes and times I have felt the need to say no because of a warning feeling.

      Rather than focusing on the giving scenario, we must all face the responsibility of looking inward first. Making sure that we aren’t making decisions based on financial fear, greediness, or judgmental attitudes. If we are in a right relationship with God and in right attitudes about money, God will direct us. I agree with the posters who’ve said they’d err to the side of generosity, because that is very Bible-based.

      However, I have had situations where I’ve given to supposedly fellow Christians in the church who have lied and mislead me and others about things and behaved in irresponsible manners. I had to discontinue more because I feared for their spiritual lives than that I was being lied to or taken advantage of (my God is my provider and I feel these folks are taking advantage of God more so than me!). It would not be love to allow this person to continue to live in sin and support them in it. They showed no remorse and eventually left the church, probably b/c the “gig was up.” Again, this was within the church so very different than outside as some have mentioned. Read your Bible and know what it says about giving, obey it, and trust the Holy Spirit for your acts of giving whether to a beggar on the street, a missionary visiting your church, or a family member in need!

  35. Lollipop Yoo

    Hey Bob!

    I’m a high school student, and a believer as well–thanks for this great advice!
    I was wondering about two things–How much should people give (what is “generous” that the Bible mentions)?
    2nd thing is, is Bob your real name? I’m also researching on a project, and I’m supposed to have the philosopher’s name on my paper, but Bob does not seem to be your name, exactly. Please email me back.

    Lollipop Yoo ([email protected])

  36. unknowngirl

    In most religions, it is said that people should give to the poor. But poor people, who are in need of money, wouldn’t ask for it. Beggars are just lazy to work. If they just sit in the street all day and have money handed to them in seconds, it wouldn’t be fare to the people who work several hours a week and receive less than those beggars.

  37. Jay G H


    You obviously have no idea about the depths of drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness. Essentially what the realities of most of life. Perhaps you should volunteer at an inner-city shelter, drug addiction center (Nothing serious. Even washing cups after an NA meeting.) just to learn exactly the hell that becomes peoples lives. Especially indeed how intense drug addiction can be.

    Point to counter your arguement.: A homeless person, whom is begging. Will not leave their “patch” until they have (Approximately.) USD $20, GBP $25, CHF 15.50 to 25. This is enough to buy, at those prices in the countries I have lived and volunteered in, enough for 1 or 2 “caps” (Small bags per se.) of Heroin and 1 “cap” of Crack Cocaine. If a person addicted to these drugs (Mixed together for a “speedball.”.) has to go into withdrawals (So approximately from 4 hours after waking, or 4 to 8 hours from last good injection.) they will abandon their pitch (Which “another” will take their allotted time in.) in search of a shop to commit theft from to then sell the product in bars or on the street. They will usually steal products ranging from DVDs/Games, Mens/Womens toiletaries all the way to raw meat. Or, they will break into a house. Even worse, should they be a crystal methamphetamine addict, they may be in Psychosis, these people (Who are very sick.) commit armed robberies to murders, regularly.

    I give to the homeless. The needy. I also give 2.5% percent (Worked out alongside tax break.) of my income, yearly, to my Church (Catholic. Say what you will, I have heard it all.) for distribution to Charities. I am a professional, I give a good deal when you work out the total. God gives it back to me many, many times over. I know this for fact.

    Not to say it is religion that makes me give to the homeless. I did not always give to Charity, giving to my Church started when I became religious only a couple years ago, however these people are suffering. I’d rather ask someone, “How short are you?”, “How much money do you need?.”. They might ask “What do you mean?”. I just say, “You waiting for a six pack, a ball? How much more you need” or “What you need, a 20 bag? How much more you gotta get?”, or similar. They will usually then be truthful with you why they are there, what and why they need it.

    Maybe. Maybe I just travelled too much. I’ve been to most continents, especially third world countries all over, a lot of time in Vietnam and Thailand, Sri Lanka etc. We have a lot, it is up to us to take care of our. Homeless, beggar or other, they used to be like us once. They are people too. They always were.

  38. Arthur Clarke

    To remind folk, I’m from South Africa — probably the crime capital of the world (but a great country.) Jay G H clearly knows a lot more about the problems people face than most of us. In RSA, conventional wisdom by all the welfare bodies says ‘give to organizations rather than individuals’. One organization provides meal tickets which you can give to beggars. Only somewhere between a third and a half of these meal tickets are ever redeemed. So Jay is right — drugs and alcoholism is the big problem and that’s what people need cash for. For myself, I have cut right back on giving to individuals for this reason: one is only perpetuating the problem.

  39. brad

    I have struggled with this issue. But no where in the bible does it say give to the poor as long as they arent lazy, or dont give to the poor if you think they might buy drugs, or dont give to the poor if you are intimidated, etc….

    I do find scriptures saying laziness is bad and should be condemned, but says nothing about not giving to those who ask.

    So here are the scriptures I have found that say you should give:

    Proverbs 11:24-25
    One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

    Proverbs 14:21
    He who despises his neighbor sins,but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.

    Proverbs 19:17
    He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

    Proverbs 21:13
    If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

    Proverbs 22:9
    A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

    Proverbs 28:27
    He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

    Matthew 25:41-45
    Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.’

    Luke 12:33
    Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

    2 Corinthians 9:7
    Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    Deuteronomy 15:7, 11
    If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

    Psalm 112:9
    He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn [a] will be lifted high in honor.

    Luke 12:33
    Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

    Luke 14:13-14
    But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

    2 Corinthians 9:7
    Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    [Prov 28:27] He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

    [Mark 10:21] Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

    Lazarus and the rich man (here is an explanation):

    Prov. 19:17 When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord–and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!

    1 John 3:17 But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him ? 1 John 3:18 Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. 1 John 3:19 Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.

    Prov. 14:31 Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.

    Prov. 21:13 He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.

    Prov. 28:27 If you give to the poor, your needs will be supplied! But a curse upon those who close their eyes to poverty.

    1 Tim. 6:17 Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 1 Tim. 6:18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. 1 Tim. 6:19 By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven–it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.

    Luke 10:27 “It says,” he replied, “that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself. Luke 10:28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you shall live!” Luke 10:29 The man wanted to justify (his lack of love for some kinds of people), so he asked, “Which neighbors?” Luke 10:30 Jesus replied with an illustration: “A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road. Luke 10:31 “By chance a Jewish priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. Luke 10:32 A Jewish Temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on. Luke 10:33 “But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity. Luke 10:34 Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. Luke 10:35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two twenty-dollar bills and told him to take care of the man. ‘If his bill runs higher than that,’ he said, ‘I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.’ Luke 10:36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the bandits’ victim?” Luke 10:37 The man replied, “The one who showed him some pity.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

    2 Cor. 9:7 Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes. 2 Cor. 9:8 God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others. 2 Cor. 9:9 It is as the Scriptures say: “The godly man gives generously to the poor. His good deeds will be an honor to him forever.” 2 Cor. 9:10 For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest. 2 Cor. 9:11 Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help. 2 Cor. 9:12 So two good things happen as a result of your gifts–those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God. 2 Cor 9:13 Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that your deeds are as good as your doctrine. 2 Cor. 9:14 And they will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you. 2 Cor. 9:15 Thank God for his Son–his Gift too wonderful for words.

    Isa. 58:6 “No, the kind of fast I want is that you stop oppressing those who work for you and treat them fairly and give them what they earn. Isa. 58:7 I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don’t hide from relatives who need your help. Isa. 58:8 “If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Isa. 58:9 Then, when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. All you need to do is to stop oppressing the weak and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! Isa. 58:10 “Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day. Isa. 58:11 And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.


    I cannot seem to make a list nearly close to as big as this that says dont support beggars. If you have some good scriptures I would like to see them.

    • Phil

      LUKE 6:30

      Keep on giving to EVERYONE who asks you for something, and if anyone takes what is yours,
      do not insist on getting it back.











      Proverbs 28:22
      A STINGY man is eager to get rich, and is unaware that POVERTY awaits him.

  40. brad

    You can always give them giftcards to subway or something like that too.

  41. MIKE


  42. JoeTaxpayer

    Mike – every situation is unique.
    It’s fair to say that one can do more good giving to shelters and organizations that help people than to individuals. When I give, I don’t kid myself, I know it’s a grain of sand on the beach. You can walk by those who you feel are not going to buy food, or you can offer a sandwich or burger, etc. Wrong? It’s not for me or anyone to judge.

  43. Michael

    I work in Minneapolis, MN. When walking up and down Nicollet Mall, you are approached everyday by people asking for money(I do not like the term begger). I will be honest, I rarely give but at times after I just walk by, that person will be on my mind and tugging at my heart all day. I then tell myself that I will for sure give if I see them the next day and rarely are they there. I feel like I have failed in being a cheerful giver.

    I have had some bad experiances in giving. I was in New York once and a guy had sign asking for Money For Food so I bought him a coffee and breakfast sandwich. he threw them on the ground and gave me a lecture about how to read and teh sign say needs money for food and not food directly. I know this is a rare case but gave me a real bad taste of giving and has made me cautious of giving.

    Also it is hard to give to someone who ask for money when you see them every single day and you have witnesses many times them opening a new pack of cigarettes. I do not smoke, but know they are not cheap.

    I agree with the suggestions to give to organizations. I donate to the United Way and I always elect for my contributions to go towards local social organizations to help with homeless, food, and abuse shelters.

    Thank You for your time in reading my thoughts,


  44. JoeTaxpayer

    Sometimes it’s about not judging. One time I asked a beggar (I don’t find that word perjorative) what he’d buy next. When he told me it was a pack of cigarettes, I asked him to walk with me to the corner. I bought him a pack at the newsstand and thanked him for not lying to me. You can see from my other comments here that this is a topic close to my heart, there’s no right or wrong. Two good men will do six different things depending on the day.
    For me, the best was our December visit (to NYC) when we handed out earmuffs.

  45. brad

    A group of priests is notified that one of them is being sent to a country in South America to a tribe who has never heard the word of god. The priest packs his bags and gets ready for the journey. He arrives by horse and finds the tribe. Upon his arrival he is taken by the tribe and killed. The group of priests sends another who is also killed. Then sends 8 more priests which are also killed. The 11th priest is received because the tribe cannot believe they keep sending more people. The continual bravery of these priests causes curiosity in the tribe and they listen to the 11th priest and are converted.

    I think giving to homeless people can be viewed in much the same way. We are not called to judgement, but to love. If you dont feel like giving them money, give them a subway gift card and write a bible scripture on the back.

    Which person shows more love? The person giving without judgement or the person who walks to the other side of the sidewalk to avoid the beggar?

  46. Tara Johnson

    I know this article is old, but I just stumbled across it. The reason I want to reply to it is because this is an issue that I have been faced with recently. Where I live there are at least 2 pan-handlers per other corner, and most of them want change to get a beer or wine. Depending on how I am feeling that day my level of generosity varies, but recently something happened that made me want to stop giving all together. One pan-handler in particular asked me to take him to the store (walking distance) and buy him a meal. I told him that I had just prepared dinner at home for my family and I was willing to fix him a plate. He refused. He actually even argued with me saying he had taste for the food sold in that particular store and he refused to accept my offer. I was livid. I stood out there for almost 30 minutes dissecting his motives, in which he tried to justify of course. To make a long story short, and a short story even shorter I have decided to still give to pan-handlers, but I take the extra effort to ask them a few questions. I feel like if I am giving you my hard earned money then I have a right to ask a few questions; and whether or not you answer them, and how you answer them will determine if you receive my help or not. If you are one that is in the middle about giving to pan-handlers take a moment to talk to them and ask a few questions. You may be able to help them in other ways you never would have thought of. Through asking this one pan-handler several questions I learned that he had a terminal disability that allowed him to apply for and get approved for disability. I helped him with his application and he was approved and receives over $1100 a month. Now he has his own place and can provide for himself.

  47. Richard

    Thanks to everyone for your postings.

    Couple of years ago I joined NAMI because I have someone in my family that has a MH problem. NAMI teaches classes on mentally illness. One of the things that I learned in class was that without the right and proper medications people will self-medicate themselves for whatever problems they may have or think they have. Smoking, drinking,drugs or etc… is some of the devices of choice they use to calm themselves. (I’m definitely not one that apporves of such devices.) Folks that have a family member with MH problems know that they are sick and are in need of treatment. Even if one gets treatment sometimes it can take several months for one to get stabilized to live life normally.

    After reading all the post and knowing what I know about Mental Illness gives me better insight now when opportunities arise.

    Hope this helps in some way or another.

    In everything give thanks… and Praise to God.

  48. Alex

    (Warning: Quite a long speech up ahead, get prepared.) Hello, I agree with most of what you have said; look at our country now, there are so many people who sit on their butts at home and collect unemployment benefits or welfare checks, then once their two years have ended, they look for a job and “Oh no! No employer wants me because I haven’t worked a single day in two years!”. And that money given to those people are taken right from our pockets. It is disgusting when hard-earned money goes to a woman down the street who is constantly going off and having children, then gets food stamps and more time to sit on their butts, and then gets put on fifty newspaper covers. (That was simply an example and I am veering off topic.) Anyhow, there are those whos spouses had just died and they have three children to raise on their own, and it’s difficult, and sometimes you just cannot make ends meet, and this is where I agree with you, you do not simply hand over your money and wish them the best, you may help them find a better job or offer them some work that they would be good at. I believe that you should always have a purpose and that you should always stay productive, no matter the situation, because if you don’t, then what are you living for? What is your ambition; what gets you up in the morning and be thankful for what you have? This all correlates with your situation, however I do not wish to delve into a wholevothwr topic entirely. The bottom line is; do not give to the poor, but help the poor. Difference being that you do not give the person on the street a quarter, you help them find a way to earn that quarter, and that’s just it; even if it is only a mangy quarter, they still earned it, and I’m sure that that is a better feeling than being when someone donated money to you. I do not agree with what some of the other comments when they basically said that you shouldnt question who you are helping or for what they will do with the money or why they need it, I disagree with this because 1) You should always question and never place your trust blindly. 2) You should do something good for someone that will help them in the longrun. 3) Simply giving to the needy and giving them the benefit of the doubt is not the way to hand out your money, you should make sure that you are doing the right thing by helping someone get their own money. Also, I would prefer to leave out the whole God will lead the way and decide what to do because I am just too confused. Simply because I don’t know what is going on, I would not just leave it up to God because I cannot workout my own problems and figure it out on my own. Overall, good job on this article and it is certainly a good debate topic.

  49. Jay G H

    In my haste many months ago, I missed two vital points.

    I still hand out to drug addicts, the homeless, but not “beggars”. There is and can be a difference. In November 2008, all of a sudden there was a huge increase in “beggars”. People coming up to you, telling you all the misery of the economy, how they were laid off their job and so on. No, these people are neither homeless nor suffering, these are rogues and what they try to tell you is lies. Nothing I can do will help them, I am not powerful enough for that. Maybe someone else can, or will, help them find what they need, that person however, is not me. Besides, what they need is seldom what they, or any human being actually will “want”.

    Secondly, the external benefit (Social.) of my economic expenditure is that the suffering will move on immediately (If for example, an addict.) from their pitch, rather than feel more pain, which is what drives these poor brothers and sisters of mine to commit crime. I’ll give my entire pay over and over again, not for some gallant effort to reduce violent muggings, no, I’m only concerned with ending their suffering.

    To elaborate:

    1. If you love money, you feel loss when giving it away, don’t you?. You feel anger over “misappropriation” of your “hard earned cash” don’t you?. Is your ego bruised?.

    2. The benefits system, although abused no-end, stops nations from having streets like Mumbai slums. Rather the abuse of many than the total and absolute suffering of a few.

    3. As much as it may be noble to “educate” the masses on the value of hard work, it is a pointless move to try and get a suffering person to work for their money. All that accomplishes is more suffering and in fact I doubt anyone has really ever had a suffering alcoholic or drug addict ever do any work whilst in pain. It is patently obvious to anyone with common sense that a withdrawing opiate addict will not paint a fence for you, they cannot even sit still for the cramps, sweats and mental anguish. Noble that cause may seem but in reality it is pure fantasy, at least in the short term. Further to this, the only work I have ever seen an addict do for money, is selling drugs for people higher in the chain. I have seen a travelling “hobo” paint a fence on TV a couple times, those are actors, it’s not reality.

    4. One point on religious beliefs, the “love of money” comment above was just a little thing to prove a point. Christianity in most forms, gives many a good reason for taking care of the suffering, but perhaps another set of beliefs is just as poignant and gives the explanation for my actions;

    “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike, each has their suffering.”

    If I’m wrong, if there is no judgement of my life, if my beliefs are just psychotic fantasies (Agnostics might think so?.), if all my money was a waste, all I did was hurt the world, hurt myself, increase suffering and it was all for nothing, I’d be dead and wouldn’t be able to know or care.

    To walk without fear, to enter all actions boldly, to use a tranquil heart, kind words and a lifetime of beautiful deeds, is what renews our humanity. If you are looking for gratitude, you will not find it in this life. If you are looking for praise, do not look in this lifetime.

    No, for the path I take, is the hard way out. It causes interaction with dangerous situations and potentially lethal mixes of emotion, no longer within myself, no, much more in others.

    It makes people volatile, spiteful, they are quick to anger. For many suffer the “human condition”, mental noise, for they are not free of their pain. This real old carpenter guy set me free, however I don’t “believe”, I know that was decided before I was even conceived.

    If you give freely and try to love others, in truth you are a fool in the eyes of many, a madman in the eyes of many more. You will bring unto yourself untold suffering. I would not attempt it unless you know in your heart, that death is not to be feared, that all on this earth must go, you must go, all shall change. If you believe that everything that happens, must happen, if you believe, for example, an angel, your mother, the mother of all mothers is protecting you every moment, then you are probably not reading this, you are probably living how I do.

    But if you are reading this, understanding the difference between belief and certain knowledge, then I hope you too, are smiling inside, laughing at the sky, at how stupid I am being trying to explain what words could never accomplish.

    More to the point. Now, if I drop my need for reason and conjecture on a socially acceptable level, let me move onto the point:

    Can you abide by your fellow man suffering?. Are you one of the bad guys, or one of the good guys?. I’ll tell you now, there are already too many of the bad, so you got to be one of the good guys. Life is a morality tale, the bad guys have to lose, so you better man up, drop your damn egotistical love of money and help your brothers. Stop crying over things you cannot change, yes “fake beggars” exist, no one ever told you to help liars or rogues, be a man, be a woman, be a friend to someone today for no reason. Accept no payment nor thanks, but rest peaceful inside knowing that you need no thanks, because you did it because that’s the kind of person you are. No justification, no reason, do the things you do because you are man enough, kind enough, human enough, loving enough. Do them just to do them. Do them, because maybe it was right. If it was wrong, do it again until it’s right, just don’t be one of the bad guys, don’t be a disgrace to yourself.

  50. MGates

    I will honestly say thanks for the opportunity to express descirnment here as Bob states the holy spirit needs to guide ones daily task as small or as large as giving, some may take giving lightly while others think its a big deal. I will say its simply a faith builder. Giving to the poor/ or a beggar is the same to me and they both require discernment. Allow God to tell you when or who and how much. I will honestly says I do not give all the time simply because I didnt get the “green light”. The green light matters…short story I picked up a staggering male on the side of a local high way, (by the way I’m a young female) who traveled pretty far out my way to take him to a safe place. The holy spirit informed me to, but yes I was terrified at first but when I recieved confirmation simply by remembering “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” I just felt better it was 30 minute drive and he didnt talk much but when we reached his destination he said please wait here now I’m really terrified his mom came out and the police rolled up this man was missing for several days and everyone was rejoicing. I felt really good afterwards and they needed to ask me questions but I couldnt give them much other than what I knew and I just wanted God to get the glory. Please allow the spirit to guide you, you will never go wrong. Peace and Blessings

  51. Michael A. Jacobellis

    MGates – I stumbled across this website and read your post. It concerned me to the point that I believed that I should respond. I would not want others, male or female to repeat your action of picking up a lone male along a lone highway or anyplace else. Common sense should come into play. As a retired l.A.P.D. officer of 32 years of law enforcement experience, what you did that day was extremely dangerous and ill advised. You could have helped in another and by a much safer means by either utilizing a cell phone to call the police and if you didn’t have a cell phone you could have driven to the neareast pay phone and do the same. The so called green light you got was by all means a poor judgement call on your part. You are lucky and I mean lucky that this male did not harm you. There are predators that use the method of acting as if they are stranded in hopes of getting their prey. You are lucky you were not the fly that got trapped in his web. I would never advise anyone to pick up a lone male along a roadway, there are smarter options to offer assistance. I have compassion, I have courage and I was and still am committed to doing the right things, however, one must be wise and be careful of misplaced compassion. I am glad that it turned out well for you that time but please don’t do that again, you may wind up as a victim statistic. Be careful!

  52. dshingleton

    Giving to the poor is something we do out of compassion. We don’t know what brought the begger to the point of begging. All we need to know is that God loves them and tells us to give. It is up to the Holy Spirit to judge,heal and tranceform that person not us. In giving you may be the only Jesus that person ever sees. God will deal with the rest!

  53. I know that we are all familiar with the phrase that says “give a man a fish and you feed him for the day or teach a man how to fish and you will feed him for the lifetime.”

    Let us make our eyes open, we can see if a person is saying a truth or a lie, let us say that we had an encounter with an old woman in the road and asking for help because her money is not enough, by God’s grace He will let us see what the truth behind that.

  54. miss billie

    what happens if you give someone money and you did it from your heart and the person spent it on drugs. will god punish you? i ws in texas last year and a woman beggar came up to my son and his wife and we each gave her money. she said she wanted to get food. she was not handicap etc. what if she left us and bought drugs will god punish us.? his word says that we have to be good sterwarts of our money.

  55. Alex

    Passing judgement is what we a humans must always do. What makes us special and unique, is that each and every one of us are different, therefore, we must pass judgement. If we all had the same principles and morals that we base our decisions on, then there would be no need to pass judgement because we would perform the same acts and execute the same decisions. However, we are not like that, therefore it is completely reasonable to pass judgement, it is youresponsibility to make wise decisions and not simply leave the responsibility to God. It is also the beggars responsibility to support himself and not rely on other’s hard earned money.

  56. bRAD

    I think the best way to look at it is this: If this were your son/daughter begging, how would you want them treated?

    • Alex

      To get a job and support themselves, they don’t need other people to do the hard stuff for them. If these were my children, that would make the situation even more disappointing.

  57. Sherri

    We recently had a couple stop in our driveway & ask for money – sleeping in their van, pregnant, no home. I gave them $20 & gave them directions to our local Food Bank & Ministerial Society to receive more help. Three weeks later I’m at a retirement function for our pastor at church when this couple stops there with the same story (except this time it was the female) and she cried. When I told her about the Food Bank she acted like she had never heard of it (she didn’t recognize me from our previous encounter). The church would not give cash, but my husband gave $50 to her. Since that time we have heard of them scamming several people at their homes. God gives us wisdom and instruction from His Word to follow His principles but does not always speak to us directly. My problem from our giving is that $70 could have gone to an organization to help someone truly in need. As a stewart in our church who makes decisions on giving, I see so many who are not willing to change their lifestyles – keep the cable, etc. Sometimes it is a tough decision. We help all through the church but no cash. I believe for the couple that scammed us, it is their loss.

    • JoeTaxpayer

      Sherri – I see where you are coming from, and understand.
      When I look at what we give to organized charity, the amount I hand out in cash is orders of magnitude less. (Literally, less than 1/100)
      I see this issue as being such a struggle as it’s so hard to know the “right” thing to do.
      I’m curious, if you knew something was up, why hubby gave her more money?

    • bRAD

      Was the couple in need?

  58. Sherri

    JoeTaxpayer: didn’t know at the time they were going around to other houses. This came 2 days later. We thought they might be scamming, but gave in faith that maybe they weren’t and were truly in need. We had lots of food and I invited her to fill several containers to take. What started tipping me off, they told me they had 2 kids when they came to our house and said the same thing at the church, but there were no kids with them. I should have asked where they were but didn’t (for some reason). I’ve read all these old postings and I see most of us struggle with these situations. As I said, I am a stewart for the church & make decisions and some people are so rude when you don’t give them exactly what they’re after. I’ve learned to lift them up in prayer and let it go.

  59. Mark

    I have a different way to give to the poor. Drop change in certain locations, like bus stop, along the sidewalk,and in other places etc etc. kind of like keeping to the idea of not harvesting the whole field, but leave some wheat behind, for the poor to come along to pick it up. The poor are going to be looking at the ground for spare change more often than the well off people would.


  60. stephen

    i believe that the media has scared us from being scammed, we think that everyone out there that is on the streets is looking for the easy way out. there is a sense of shame in begging, but also that shame can, over time be blocked to where they don’t feel as though it is wrong to take without giving something in return (i.e. a honest effort to make ones life better) the idea is that Christians want the best life for everyone around us.
    firstly stop judging, if people seek help they will find it. if people seek taking advantage of a situation they will find justice. god will bring his justice to each person. who are we to decide whether someone deserves our charity. that is gods will to put them in our lives.
    its really what we make of the situation.
    i watched the movie Precious last night, it put a thought into my head that there are people out there who will just ride the welfare train till they cannot anymore. throughout the movie i wanted to jump in and tell her, God loves you, he is always there just ask for his help.
    tonight a women came up to me and asked me for money because “her car was out of gas down the street and she needed to get to Dallas (about a 20 mile drive from my location). without thinking, i handed her a 5 and we both went on our way. this is why i looked up this question. my question has been answered through this feed because of my feelings on judging one another. quit thinking money matters. give it all away, give away everything if it means you can hear the voice of god (your conscious) speaking to you. every time you see that person on the street you think first, i should give them some money. second you think, what if he spends it on something that is going to hinder his rehabilitation to a better life. i believe the second thought is the devil speaking to you. you first instinct is god speaking through you.
    everything is circumstantial. if god doesn’t think that person deserves your generosity he will not put it in your conscious to help them through your means at the time. we as Christians have faith because we feel something inside us telling us there is more, and God has given us a book to inform us that there is more than this life. why should we not follow this feeling, originating from our conscious, in every aspect of our lives.
    if its Gods will he will tell us, we just have to listen.
    on behalf of the women from tonight. i gave her money, got in my car and prayed that she would be well. its not my job to decide what defines her well being. i am just to love everyone. the only thing i wish i would of done was say to her ” this is money God gave you, he loves you and wants to be with you, seek him and your life will be good” i also wish i had a bible to give her.
    its the little seeds God allows us to plant in their minds that will bring them to God and get them to heaven.
    just love everyone, stop thinking about what you think their circumstance is and just love them because they are your brothers and sisters under god, this is how we will save humanity, this is how we build gods kingdom, through LOVE.

  61. stephen

    i have two more things to say, im sorry i keep talking if you dont like my pov.
    first, please respond to my message i want to know what you think.
    second, we are all sinners, by the grace of god some of us were allowed to see our detrimental ways before they brought us to rock bottom. some of us were clouded, through our experiences, to not be able to see our sinful ways and repent. we live in a fallen world. i always ask myself, if i were in their shoes would i want this strangers grace? and the answer is always a just one.

    • Sherri

      Stephen, I agree with you that it is not our place to judge anyone. My small town doesn’t see a lot of people stopping you on the street for money. But as treasurer for our church we do have a lot of people stopping by for help with utilities. We always help and send them to our local ministerial asoc. for help also. I do have a problem giving to people if I know they are capable of work and won’t work. Or change their livestyle – some don’t want to give up the cable to pay a water bill. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices. It’s a shame that there are kids who go to bed hungry in this country, but how we solve that is hard when their parents use the money for drugs. I hurt for people and if there is a fellow on the road with a sign, I just about all the time give if I can stop (due to traffic). It’s a tough situation but I’m like you, if they use the money incorrectly, it’s on them. And who knows what that act of kindness might do for someone. I think it’s best to give except when we know for sure the money is being misused.

  62. Rach

    The Bible states is VERY plainly. Jesus said “Give to the one who asks”. Why do people make excuses to go against what Jesus said?

  63. Billy

    2 Thessalonians (3:10)
    “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

    Many times I have had people walk up and ask me for money for gas or food. Usually when they see my work truck. They always have a good story and they always seem sincere. I always offer them work. Some have taken the work and gotten paid some have just left and said nothing more.

    One of the most memorable times was a Man in his 30’s who was said he was from the next state over and that he has his wife and kids with him and that they were sitting on the side of the Interstate alone in a Car that was out of gas. I replied ” Come get in the Truck, I will buy a gas jug and fill it with gas and we will go and get them off of the side f the road!” (I was in the middle of a Job) He said that they had left the car and went to a hotel close by! I then told him that since they were safe that he could work and earn some money. He agreed and he worked for about an Hour and a half And i paid him double wages for the time that he worked and Told him I would give him a ride anywhere he wanted to go. He hesitated and then agreed! As we were going down the road he requested more money because the $30 that I had given him was not enough to get him back home. I told him that I had help all I could as far as money but I would gladly take him to the store and buy a jug for him to use and That I would take him to his car after we got gas. He Replied “No just take me right up here and this lady at this house said she would help me” So I dropped him off there. And went on down the road and had to turn around (was dead end)

    I saw him in the rear view mirror the entire time he walked past 3 homes and never stopped at any.

    So I do not give to any person who just asks for money. I give to some who do not ask at all if I feel that they need it. I will still allow people to earn money. I will find something for them to do to earn the money that I give even if it carries no value to anything other than for them to earn

  64. Joy

    NOBODY has mentioned praying for these people…right then and there…either with them or as you drive or walk away. “Lord, how can I help this person?” “Lord, what do you want me to say, what do you want me to do?” “Lord, how can I be your hands and feet?” Then go from there. It’s really simple when we bring this person before the throne of God…and we listen and be led by His Holy Spirit. People need to know about Jesus (rich or poor) – they need spiritual food. Desperately. That’s the bottom line.

  65. Joy

    Ok, after rereading the posts, I see that a couple of you mentioned praying for the specific person. Praise the Lord! You are right on – that is one of the single most effective things you can do for people in these situations! God can work miracles in their lives if we will just pray and have faith!

  66. Luke

    What about Luke 6:30-34?

  67. Jay

    I have a question because I am trying to understand God/Jesus and would genuinely like to learn, not to fall on a particular side in a debate. My question is that if you have a certain amount of resources to give, should you not exercise discernment? If you have $200 a month to give would it be better to give to an organization that you know, because you have been diligent in finding out, feeds those in need and provides for the helpless victims ie children or should you just give that $200 out randomly to many that you see are drunk or using it to destroy themselves? Again, I am seeking out what Christians think but it seems(?) that the Bible teaches that those who are wise with their resources will be given more and thus increase their ability to give even more but those who waste will have their resources taken away. As an average person not understanding the intricacies of Christianity I would want my money to go to children or those trying to get better than to drinking but I care for all parties regardless of behavior. Isn’t there room for wisdom with faith? Just trying to figure out the Christian faith, thoughts?

  68. Brad Chase


    Few things I can think of from the bible:
    Matthew 25:40: what you did to the lease of these, you also did to me.
    2 Corinthians 9:7: God loves a cheerful giver.

    Other things that come to mind Luke 10:30-37:
    30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

    36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

    37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

    Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

    Its hard to draw an exact answer from this though because these people were most likely not on drugs and alcohol like most homeless people are. But the attitude is the same. Most people avoid beggars and walk to the other side of the road, or wont pull there car up next to them. So for that reason, I think it is very similar.

    So draw your own conclusion from this information.

    • suzie

      I lost my job a few years ago and I was homeless living out of my car. I was looking for a job and it took me a whole year to find a job. so you don’t know whats going on in those people’s lives. Money belongs to God and he’ll take care of it.

    • Corne


      My advise would just be to do it and see what happens – most beggars and homeless people HATE the world and HATE you – thats why they are in the situation they are in. I tried to give a homeless guy food yesterday and he started throwing my car with stones. He was high on drugs and i could see satan move in him at that moment.

      My advise is:

      1. Don’t give help to homeless person if he does not ask for it.
      2. If a homeless person asks for help, take him to a shelter. (Don’t do this alone) Rather ask a taxi driver to drop him at the shelter.
      3. Don’t feel guilty when driving past a homeless person – the guilt is not from God.
      4. Some people really need help – but its normally not homeless beggars on the street.

  69. Michelle

    It really doesn’t matter what we think it only matters what the word of God says. I’m one that use to give to the beggars in the streets and to homless shelters, abused womans and childrens shelters and to the homeless etc…BUT I also pray more so that God reveals TRUTH to me and gives me knoweldge and wisdom. This does not mean I’m saying I’m all knowing in anyway. But here is my take on the issue.

    There was a time in this country and not that long ago that people called beggars bums and they DID NOT give to them. In my opinion they understood the word of God better than most do today. In 1850 the waterdown process of the Holy Scriptures began an dthose effects are still with us with some very false beliefes. Such as once saved always saved and everything belongs to God. Both are false and if peple read the bible they would see that. Revalations says there is a “special” army to deal with those who claim or “think” they are HIs and are NOT. There is also the scripture that says “Not everone who comes to the gate will be let in…….” I’m not going to type it all out but you get the point. The bible is also clear in numerouse scriptures that God says you are not mine but your father is from teh synague of satan. This they do not belong to God.

    The reason I say this is this during the times when beggars or bums were not given to the numbers were way lower. YOu did not see many of them. BECAUSE people understood something they don’t seem to understand now. Self responsiblity. NO ONE is suppose to be “responsible” for these bums. If you do not work you do not eat. The reason in other testiments it mentions those with affliciations is because not working is not the problem it is physical issues that have bond them. Should you not be helped if you are handicapped? Of course not. Our God is not cold hearted. He cares greatly and He aches and He hurts for our us. Proven at teh cross His love is greater than anything we have ever felt, I’m sure. When we feed these bums and give to them they have no reason to do anything for themselves. You have made yourself responsible for them in their eyes and they only demand more. Look at the social welfare program and that is a perfect example. How many people scream and complain they should get more? Millions and the goverment robs us to give to them. If the welfare programs had not been started to begin with those who could give would had and those who went without would had kept on finding more work. Welfare breeds welfare. Rather we like it or not. It does not mean you may not have a heart for them or feel bad. Loving someone doesn’t mean inabling a bad habitiate or a bad life style or it being ok to go against Gods word. We are not to feed the beggars but to help those who need it. And yet I see so many beggars making $100-200 a day living in tents, and yes I’ve talked to them. Gaining sympathy from being homeless. And one man up the street from here use to earn $65k a year and was laid off. Lower paying jobs were not good enough for him and he refused to work them for 3 years living off of welfare. Then he decieded I don’t have to do anything and he didn’t and now lives in a tent collecting “free” money on the corners. He is a bum and I won’t give him a dime. It was his choice. Then I see families of 3-4 who lost jobs 3-5 years ago and their increase in employement is min wage paying jobs and NO welfare and they can’ not get a pennies worth of help from anyone. One is willing to work and to earn their way the other is not. That is what feeding bums does and God being all kknowing already knows that. If we were following Gods laws, commands and obeying His word regardless if we understood why He commands things this way we would be living in a land of prosperity and abundance nto poverty and uncertainity.

    I’m dyslexic and I try to correct my errors but I’m dyslexic so no I really do not need to hear of misspellings or errors in usage etc…I’m fully aware but thank you!

    On that last note remember God also says His ways are NOT our ways. HIS thoughts are NOT our thoughts. He is by far wiser and He is all knowing so we do not have a right to question it but ask for understanding of it. God be with those that are HIS as for the rest….well.

  70. Sherri

    MIchelle, I do agree with you. If they can stand on the corners for the hours they do, then they could stand at a job. I believe God wants us to help those who cannot help themselves. I hope no one thinks I’m judging anyone but we have a single mother of 3 in our church who works every day and barely makes ends meets. I will help her because she really tries and she is one who falls through the cracks. Thanks for your comments.