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Christians: When you don't help someone do you feel like it will come back to haunt you?

My husband and I have a lot of family who won't/can't help themselves but are quick to run to us for financial help. If we helped them all we couldn't meet our own obligations. If we help some but not others that causes a lot of drama as well. It almost reminds me of jealous siblings arguing "but you gave/loaned Johnny $50 the other day it's not fair. Why can't you ever help me?". It's really a mess and we have decided except in a few extreme situations to just say no. I really feel that in most cases to give them money is enabling them not helping them. We have even considered a move out of state to get away from this.

Anyway, quite regularly I start to feel guilty and afraid something awful could happen to us and no one would want to help us. Does this make sense? How can I get past this?

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:38 PM on Jun. 29, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (12)
  • I won't be the only one to tell you there are many ways to help besides financially! God will tell you if you ask, what you are needed to do. Just because you don't hand out money does not mean your heart is hard against the needy.

    Answer by LauraMi261 at 8:41 PM on Jun. 29, 2010

  • Like in a karma sense? No. I dont believe in karma.
    Here's the deal. God is your judge and He will judge your heart. If you are doing what you can to help (like pp said more than one way to help) then you are okay.
    Your first obligation is to your family. Doesnt do anyone any good if you bail them out if they have to turn around and bail you out now does it?

    Answer by new_mom808 at 8:49 PM on Jun. 29, 2010

  • I know that its not always possible to help financially, and I know what you mean about people who won't do anything for themselves. The way I am, I would help a few times, and then say we can't give them any more money, but we'll help in other ways (although I'm sure with multiple parties its even more difficult, in which case I wouldn't even bother with giving money, and would just look for other ways to be there for them). And you can't feel badly for that - if you don't have the means to give money, you don't have it. You can't feel bad when you know you have to take care of you and yours - if you and your family aren't taken care of you won't be in a position to help anyone anyway!

    Its better to show your support of them while giving them room to be responsible, too! (which helping in ways other than money can do)

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:03 PM on Jun. 29, 2010

  • I'm not Christian, but I am the type of person who will help just about anyone I can, and I would feel real guilt if I didn't help someone and I could. HOWEVER, that said, there is a difference between helping and hindering. If these people aren't willing to help themselves because they believe they can always fall back on you then constantly helping, it's actually helping. Sure, you're helping them today and for the moment, but refusing to help in order to make them stand on their own two feet (so to speak) is much more long term help... I will always help someone when I can, but sometimes it's hard to see what help really is! If they aren't willing to help themselves, there really isn't anything you can do that will truly help them!

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 9:15 PM on Jun. 29, 2010

  • I think that charity is different than enabling. I have been in that situation, I have had nearly everyone in my family live with us and of of us at one time or another. I have had to put my foot down a few times. I think that it OK to say no. After supporting many of our family members we have now found our self in a position of having to live with my mother, one of the only people that has never lived with us. One of the main reasons she was agreeable to helping us is because she said she knows we would do it for her. I still help others as much as I can and how I can. It may not be financially but it may mean my listening or with my time. I also will not allow myself to be used. If that is what you feel is going on then I think you have every right to stop. I do not think that God would want us to let people take advantage of us and I don't think that is what is meant by charity.

    Answer by mom-2-five at 9:20 PM on Jun. 29, 2010

  • Helping out a family member or friend in a real emergency is being kind but being the person they fall back on is taking advantage of your good nature. If it is in my ability I will help out in really tough times but if a person is just with their budget all the time I can't help them out.

    Answer by pnwmom at 9:36 PM on Jun. 29, 2010

  • I agree with mom2five. Look at it this way. If we help those who are refusing to manage what they have so that they are continually falling back on us for help, we are enabling them to continue. We all have our tough lessons that we have to learn, theirs are financial ones. Don't interfere with their learning process. Let them learn that you have to be wise and cautious. Don't let them make you feel guilty about not helping. There are those who like to prey on kindness and take advantage.

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 9:49 PM on Jun. 29, 2010

  • no i dont but i believe as a christian we need to do all we can do for people.. Even if it is just opening a door for someone.. Me myself if i see someone in need and i dont help them i will fill so bad for weeks ....

    Answer by hinson7169 at 3:17 AM on Jun. 30, 2010

  • No I don't feel haunted when I don't help, I try to help when I can because it's the right thing to do. I don't feel guilty when I can't or don't because no one can help all the time. I try to do more then I think I can, but there is a limit because I have responsibilities to myself and my family as well. 


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 6:41 AM on Jun. 30, 2010

  • Don't feel guilty. You are making hard decisions and it doesn't mean you don't love your family. Adults do need to help themselves, but that doesn't mean you cannot be there for them with a listening ear, a cup of tea, etc. Sometimes love is tough and means not giving someone something they think they deserve. And be prepared for the negative fallout. Build a thick skin. And don't believe anyone who calls you bad for doing the best you can in an impossible situation.

    Answer by Anna92464 at 9:50 AM on Jun. 30, 2010

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