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A Handout or a Hand Up?

by Don Current on October 8, 2010

No Panhandling

Photo courtesy quinn.anya

The second money myth that Your Money God’s Way by Amie Streater addresses is that it is our Christian duty to always help everyone. There’s another word that can describe people that believe in this myth, enablers.

I believe whole  heartedly in helping people whenever I can with both my time and my finances. I believe it is extremely important to our overall financial health to do so as well. The problem comes when a particular person becomes dependent on assistance from others and never improves their situation.

Think about the families you’ve seen where time and time again the parents bail their kid out of their latest jam instead of letting them suffer the consequences of their actions. Their not helping their child, and many times, they are hurting their own financial situation as well. At some point they need to cut the apron strings and let their grown child sink or swim on their own. They aren’t helping anyone out.

I’ve seen this happen in churches as well. Well meaning people help out someone who seems down on their luck. Over time however, this person continues to come back to these people for assistance. Time and again they need the rent covered, or the electric bill, or their car payment. The well meaning church members need to recognize this and stop enabling the poor choices of this person. A little tough love is required to help them stand on their own.

If you’re facing this situation, you need to set some boundaries. Require them to get some financial counseling or other help as a condition of giving them any money. They have to try and help themselves or you aren’t helping them, you’re just enabling them.