Helping The Poor – Reason 3

January 12, 2014

 Who Are We to Judge the Poor?

Americans are horrible savers. On average, we save less than 5% of all our earned income. Despite this, we routinely think of the poor as people who deserve their lowly status. “They squander their money away on drugs, alcohol, and bad habits!” is a common excuse for not giving anything directly to the poor.

The truth is, we probably aren’t that much better with our resources. While we complain about the habits of the homeless, we go to the movies, buy new clothes, watch Netflix, eat junk food, and squander our income.

The point is, it doesn’t matter how the poor became poor. God continually instructs His followers to be humble and nonjudgmental. So why do we keep condemning the poor, alienating them, creating laws to hurt them, persecuting them, and downright abandoning them

SOURCE: Stephen Mattson: 5 Reasons We Should Personally Help the Poor | Red Letter Christians.

This is the third installment of the five reasons Stephen Mattson gives for helping the poor.

I can’t tell you how many times I sat in an Evangelical Lutheran adult bible class and heard the comments below.

“Those people who are homeless deserve what they got because…”

It seemed very easy to dismiss unconditionally helping the poor because they made some pretty stupid mistakes in their lives.

“If only they would just pull themselves up..”

“Doesn’t the bible say the poor will always be with us, so that must mean we don’t need to worry about it…”

There seemed to be a myriad of reasons spouted about why we don’t have to help the poor.

And then there are the words of Jesus who very directly told us again and again to do just that.


One response to Helping The Poor – Reason 3


    RJ – thanks for sharing this series as well as your thoughts on this issue. I sometimes wonder if it isn’t easier for many of us today to keep people “boxed” under a label called “the poor” so we don’t have to connect with them (and find something of ourselves in them and their journey?). It is sort of like that idea of how little separates us from total strangers (perhaps a corollary of the 6 degrees of separation idea!). If we connect and see/find something of ourselves in the poor, would we then find it more difficult to turn away and focus back on ourselves and ignore their pleas for help? As I get older, I have come to realize the “brokenness” in myself and often see the same when I hear the stories of others who have made mistakes in their lives and have found themselves in radically different places than me – they’re a lot more like me than I use to think. There are differences between me and many of the homeless/poor in my community but there are also a lot of similarities. I struggle though with the whole issue of how to balance “helping” them without trying to “control/fix” them (something else that I find myself often trying to do!). How do I help teach them to fish? Or is my role simply to connect with them and find a way to touch their lives like Jesus did with the leper in a reading earlier this week? Oh, well, no answers yeet but thanks to your posts I will continue to trudge that road and ask myself those questions and see where it may take a simple guy like me! BTW, Happy New Year! Mike