I thought about writing this article months ago but for some reason I just never got around to it. My thoughts were always there. I just never sat down and put them to print. But now with all the hype about the Corona Virus and how it is affecting people and what the government is going to do to take care of us, I just had to sit down and start venting.
When our country was formed there was no desire from the elected officials to start programs to tax citizens and then give some of that money to citizens to “help them out in times of need.”
How did a country of (mostly) hard working, industrious people go from being responsible for their own lives and the lives of their family to a country that is steeped in, it seem like, encouraging people to be lazy and allow the government to provide them with everything from free cell phones to welfare checks, even including free babysitting services in high school for children that have children. Many believe the services they get are free and they have no clue who pays for all this “free” stuff! It is not free! This money is from hard working citizens who make good choices but are forced to support people who make bad choices.
From the secular side of life, I would love to see responsible politicians, parents and adults get on the bandwagon and tell people (especially young people) to become responsible for their actions and choices. Advice would include that we need to live within our means, not to spend more than we make, and save money for emergencies/for our retirement! If I could add a comment to President John Kennedy’s statement “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” it would be “what can we do to take care of yourself?”
For some reason the politicians have accepted the belief that we, the people, are not smart enough to govern ourselves and that they need to take care of us. They tell us what is good or bad, safe or unsafe, what we should eat and how we should live. They have also discovered that if they give us enough “free stuff” we will vote for them and their party. It works! They provide for us, which encourages us to be lazy and then we become hooked on their free stuff and don’t want to give it up. Sadly, many of the people that get the free handouts don’t realize that it is not free or they have no idea where the money comes from and they don’t care! They don’t realize that the rich stay rich, the poor have many assistance programs available to them and that it is the middle class that has to foot most of the bill paying for this free stuff. In reality the poor are in essence paid off to stay poor.
With that said, I am not against the rich as long as they got their fortunes legally and I am not against helping those in need, however there needs to be conditions and restrictions when providing people with things they did not earn or some who do not deserve.
From a Christian standpoint we are called to help the poor and those in need and the Scriptures contain guidelines on how to help, when to help, why to help and who is not to be helped.
Unfortunately, both the Christian and secular world often seem to ignore any guidelines when helping those in need and actually encourage people to become enabled and dependent on assistance. Truth is, helping sometimes hurts more than it helps.
Individuals, advertisers, the government and some of us Christians share the blame for people’s inability to save and live prudently. But, mostly I blame the individual; it is our responsibility to care for ourselves and our families. If we allow someone to trick us, con us, or talk us into something it is our greed and our lack of control that gets us into the mess we get into. When we don’t listen to wise counsel, it is our fault, period.
Scripture lists some reasons for poverty:
- Being lazy: (Proverbs 10:4; 20:13).
- And the Bible says that those who do not work should not eat (2 Thessessions 3:10).
- Loving sensual pleasure and drunkenness: (Proverbs 21:17; 23:20-21)
- Following vain people: (Proverbs 12:11; 28:19, Luke 15;13)
- Refusing instruction: (Proverbs 13:18)
- Lack of good judgment: (Proverbs 13:23)
- Hastening to be rich or greed: (Proverbs 28:22)
As Christians, we are called to set an example to others as how to live, love, share, and help. But, also in scripture, there are guidelines on how to do it. I encourage you to locate and study the scriptures on how to effectively help those in need without enabling or indirectly encouraging them to become lazy and to live off handouts.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 puts it bluntly, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Sadly it seems the government and some well-meaning Christians have enabled many by helping the poor without making sure they were truly poor (and not simply taking advantage of others’ generosity.)
Through Scripture, Jesus gives us wise counsel on how and who to help if we take the time to understand and follow His instructions instead of relying on our emotions and what we think. Doing it His way is best.