It is a truism that Christians are often viewed as ‘mugs’ by those with a desire to dupe and obtain things easily. Partly, this seems to stem from the erroneous belief that we must be ‘unconditional’ in our love and responses. After all, they say, God’s love is unconditional.
This, however, is not so. God does not love unconditionally. Throughout scripture God’s love is dependent on our obedience. Even salvation does not come unconditionally: we must first be elected by God and then we must respond (even this is determined by God). Though referred to as ‘free’, salvation depends on God’s prior decision to save… it is free in the sense that we cannot work for it or get it by our own merits. And the many benefits of God come only when we are obedient.
Forgiveness of a fellow human being is never unconditional – the wrong-doer must ask for forgiveness as part of his repentance. Again, there is a condition to receiving something. If this is so, are there conditions to helping others? Superficially we can claim that we must give to all without favour… but is it that simple? I do not think so…
“And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? Therefore (is) wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 19:2)
Very clearly, helping those who hate God is banned by God Himself. Because of their opposition to God and what He demands, many end up destitute, as we find time and again in Proverbs. This ought to put us on our guard when the idea comes along, that we must help everyone regardless of who they are or what they stand for.
Today, in the UK, many people take to the streets and are popularly called ‘beggars’. But, are they? It has been shown by researchers that huge numbers simply leave home because they cannot stand parental controls. Others have homes taken from them because they have spent their cash on drugs or drink. Others are on the streets because they just do not want to work. And large numbers beg because it is a confidence trick.
This is very different to ancient times, when those who were beggars were genuinely poor and had no other option open to them. Some (as Proverbs shows us) became beggars because of their own folly and laziness, or because they did not listen to God. In that Book we are left with the very clear injunction not to help them, for their condition was a judgment from God and a mark of sin upon them.
Christians, above all people, must be careful with their affections and resources. Time and again in scripture we are told we must not aid or give help to those who act sinfully, for if we do, we are a part of their sin, accomplices. We are told not to join with those who neglect or shun God, so when we give generously to them, whether it is time, money, or other resources, we are actually joining their cause and become associated with their sins as partakers.
In recent years churches in England particularly boasted of their involvement with illegal immigrants. They gave money, clothing and other assets to bogus ‘asylum seekers’, even though they had no right to be in the UK. In helping these people – most of whom have criminal intent – the churches are going against God’s word. So, how can they justify what they do? They are giving help mainly to Muslims who reject the Gospel. They help them though they got into the country illegally and do illegal things. Thus, the churches are breaking the law in order to ‘help’ those who are illegal anyway! Can you tell me how this is ‘Christian’ or good?
It is said that we must not discriminate; yet God does this all the time! He commands us to discriminate against fellow men and women. We are not to mix with the ungodly! In my city there is a couple, both of whom are living in squalor, drugs and sexual impropriety. Sadly, the girl comes from Christian parents and grieves them immensely. The man has taken away the girl from a safe environment, to live the life of abhorred people… how can we give help to such? We cannot. When a man or woman insists on living a life of sin, we are not free to help them. If we claim that God tells us to do it, then I question what is being said and by whom, for God cannot break His own commandments. The prompting cannot possibly be from God!
Very often Christians base entire life changes on ‘God’ when, in reality, what prompts them is their own thoughts, fears and desires. They tag ‘God’ onto it to justify what is an unsafe or even sinful activity. Think again, friends: how can God prompt us to help those who are against Him, when He has said in His word not to help them? How can we do so when those we help live sinfully and do sinful things constantly? What if they are lazy – people who God says must not be helped, because of their sloth? What if they have deserted their parents for no good reason… when God condemns all who do so? What if they hate God, as so many do? What if they use your money for more drink, drugs, or sexual deviancy? What if they use it to break the law, or to maintain a filthy lifestyle? No, we cannot give unconditionally, for God does not.
In scripture we are instructed to help the poor; but these are not poor because of their deliberate avoidance of work or family or any other thing. They are absolutely destitute through no fault of their own… much different from today’s ‘beggars’ in the UK. It has everything to do with intention and godliness. We may give without thought to anyone who is poor through no fault of their own, or even to those who recognise that they made a foolish mistake but are now repentant of it. But, to give indiscriminately is folly. What if, for example, we give to beggars who are not genuine, and later a brother or sister who is genuine cannot be helped because we have already helped those who are unworthy?
Remember that “The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich…”, sometimes making men poor because of their rejection of Him and His ways. “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction, but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.” (Proverbs 13:18). “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” (Proverbs 23:21). “…he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.” (Proverbs 28:19).
It takes great courage to be a Christian. It also takes obedience to the letter and the spirit of His word. Do not tell me you are doing God’s bidding when you help those who God has condemned or judged. Give to the poor – the poor as defined by scripture, whose poverty is not of their own making. Give generously to them. But, do not dare to help those who are against God, for fear of being judged yourself. Feeling good about giving is not a criterion to rely on, for Satan can give us many a warm glow after sinning! He can also dupe the unsuspecting Believer with a godly hint, but when scripture clearly denounces helping those who are counted as unworthy by God, we cannot ever offer to help them.
It is not enough to say that we give help unconditionally or without asking the status of those we help, for it is nothing but an excuse to avoid consequences of our actions. If a stranger asks me for money and I give it, what if he then uses that money to buy a knife, and then kills someone? What if he buys drink, and has a distraught family somewhere who dearly prays for him not to drink and bring them poverty? What if he buys drugs, and his poor Christian mother cries herself to sleep every night because of it? Are you partly responsible? Of course you are!
What if he uses your money for something that is anti-God? What if it goes to an Islamic terrorist who then uses it with other similar helps to fund a terror campaign and to spread Islamic lies? Can we truly claim to be acting in a godly way if we do not question what happens to our money? Why not, then, give generously to a Roman Catholic mission, whose aim is to dig wells but also to gain converts for Rome? The query goes on… think carefully before helping.
© March 2004
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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