I've decided it doesn't pay to be nice to needy people and give them money, because they're just taking advantage of you (as I've learned through bitter experience). I know this isn't a very Christian attitude, but we have to take care of our own families first, don't we?


Of course we have a responsibility to take care of our families and provide for their needs – as the Bible makes clear. The Bible says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith” (1 Timothy 5:8).

But the Bible also commands us to do all we can to help those who are genuinely in need. Do you remember Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan? (You can read it in Luke 10:25-37.) In it Jesus tells of a man who was severely beaten by robbers and left for dead by the roadside. The first two men who passed by ignored him – but the third stopped, bound up his wounds, then took him into the nearest town and paid for his care. Jesus’ comment to His listeners was clear: “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Does this mean we shouldn’t be wise and discerning when we help others? No, of course not. Sometimes the best way we can help someone (such as an alcoholic) is to say “no” to their request for money – and then point them to the assistance they really need. When we love people the way God loves them, we’ll try to meet their deepest needs.

The real question you face, however, is this: What is your goal in life? Is it to please God – or to please yourself? Open your heart to Christ and let His love begin to flow through you.