"Give to anyone who asks"

I asked him what for.
He said for wine.
He already seemed drunk or high, so I refused.

Did I act against Biblical teachings?

I shared some of my food with some other street artists like me.
I don’t remember if he was there then.
Shouldn’t I at least have offered him food? So i would have given him SOMETHING?

I am home now after a long day. Is it wrong for me to stay home and not go back there to see if he might need food?
If I sinned by not giving him anything, maybe I should?

If anybody could reply befor it gets too late (evening here)… I am confused now as to what is the right thing to do.


I don’t think you sinned. We have to use our judgement. Would you give to a raving lunatic with a gun who asked for money to buy ammunition?

If he asked for food, you should have tried to get him some. But wine? No, there’s no obligation there.

God Bless you for having a good heart.

The teaching is not meant for every circumstance; an extreme example is if someone intends to immolate themself with gasoline and asks you for a match, should you give them one?

Would it be OK to give him money for drugs, if he had asked?

Of course not. He doesn’t NEED wine.

If you thinks the person needs food, go ahead and offer some.

If you decide this is the right thing to do, take someone with you, please, and be careful, or do it another day. Someone that appears drunk or high may very well be so, and…well…just be careful.

I usually get approached in the city that I go for a conference every year for money for food. Occasionally, I’ve given it, but with the nagging doubt that the person is buying booze or drugs. What I decided to do is to buy some coupons from the local fast-food place (within walking distance) and give them away if asked.

Sure, if the person was resourceful he or she could trade them for drugs or booze, but that’s their concern.

Well my problem now is that I didn’t THINK at the time of offering him food instead. He didn’t ask for food.
And I live quite a ways away from there and he might or might not still be there.

But if to be ok in Bible terms I should have given him SOMETHING (because it says, give to whoever asks, it doesn’t say give exactly what they ask for right?)… then I think I’d have to go back even if that means taking a train back there again.

On the other hand I am thinking I might be exaggerating.

But I am really not sure!!

Kathrin, maybe you’ve had a live-and-learn experience. In San Francisco last week, one of the homeless residents was begging on the side of the road. Lined up in cars at a red light, I and others were face-to-face with him. Because I noticed a driver ahead of me hand a wrapped sandwich to the man, it occured to me to give a bottle of water to him. We live, we learn.

don’t worry, he’s already asked someone else.
while i don’t know the person you are speaking of, i do know a few professional bums. they ask for stuff all the time, mainly money so that they can buy what pleases them, not what they need, and then they ask for more.

i hope i don’t sound harsh, but just like charities, some are the real deal and some are scams.

maybe next time, converse with the individual a little bit to figure out their true condition in life (be careful tho!!)

I did converse with him.
Actually I was talking to someone else when he and another guy walked up to us, and he already acted really drunk… I tried to be nice to him though.
We all talked together for a while, and that specific guy’s condition… well, he was very (too?:wink: ) outgoing, started playing his guitar until the security guards told him to stop (that was at a train station).
Later we saw a bottle of wine that he had, I don’t know how he got it.
I had some food in my bag and I gave most of it to another guy who didn’t ask me for anything but told me he had no money until tomorrow. He was VERY happy.
I think this is more about the principle for me: That guy asked me, and I said no. I hardly ever say no. This time I did. feel like I should have given him SOMETHING. And I feel guilty for thinking of this later, and a part of me says: No you can’t go out there again you did enough for today, but another part says: Maybe just for the sake of the principle, I’d have to???

(Funny that you mention San Francisco. I have spent a lot of time there too. This was somewhere else though.)


p.s. I think I have decided not to go. But am I just lazy? Will I be able to sleep tonight? Am I sinning right now!!!

Kathrin, you might to discuss the issue of scrupulosity with your confessor. If you don’t have a regular confessor, maybe you can find one.

I say that only because life should be far simpler than “maybe I’m sinning right now.”

Is not drunkenness a sin? You do not need to give something to someone if they are going to use it to sin. For example if some kids asked you to buy some alchohol for them, you would not have to do that if they were underage.

OK I have decided not to go back.
I have done a lot of good things today, and a lot of waiting around in the cold and playing my own music in the cold, and sharing my earnings a bit even… I think I am trying to be perfect. Which is good but if I drive myself to exhaustion… I think going back out there into the cold night now might be a waste of precious energy and I might be making myself sick trying to do TOO much.
I prayed about it.
I think it’s ok.
I hope I am not just making excuses for myself.
Thank you everyone! Wow, what an outpour of advice/support here…


Good decision, Kathrin. You are definitely not lazy. You should be able to sleep. You are not sinning. If you went back, you would not find the man, almost certainly. You have already shared with someone today. God does not ask you to take care of the whole world. Even Mother Teresa said, “If you cannot feed a hundred people, feed one.” You’ve done that. It’s enough for today.

Just as we are no longer Jews subject to the laws about the Sabbath, we are not required to obey literally every sentence in the Bible. Our faith is not sola scriptura.

You made a prudential judgement not to give to the beggar. It is simply not possible to give to everyone. Your scrupulosity is acting up again. Tell it to be quiet and let you sleep.


(((((((((hugs))))))))) to you Betsy

K- You’re just fine. Absolutely no sin involved. Let me make a couple of points to back that up. OK?

  1. You didn’t even THINK of offering him food because the Holy Spirit didn’t direct you to do so. Since you are walking in favor with God, He will direct your path. He will give you the inner knowledge and leading when He says it’s time. Don’t beat yourself up for something that God hasn’t led you to do. It would have been a totally different thing if God led you to put an extra sandwich in your pocket and then led you to give it to some one and then you refused to follow. But, that doesn’t seem the case here. He didn’t lead. And you followed His no-lead.

  2. Yes the Bible says “whoever”. Give to whoever is a manner of speech that is consistently used throughout Holy Scripture. In other places in Scripture it was the common practice to use the word ALL. (Same thing: Whoever… All…) I heard a sermon from Tim Staples recently explaining this very thing. He was teaching about where the disciples were preaching and the Bible says that ALL from … and it named several geographic areas… ALL were baptised. Tim Staples went on to say that if we were to take that literally that ALL were baptised that day, there wouldn’t have been enough time in that day to physically do the (his word) “ker-plunking”. He just used this one example among others to show that it was common in the era when the Scriptures were written to use an all encompassing term to illustrate what today we’d say as “many”. I tell you then, that when the Scriptures say to give to whoever asks, it doesn’t mean ALL. We need to use our God-given wisdom and be led by the Holy Spirit.

God’s peace to you. You have a wonderful heart.


Cindi, what a lovely post. Thank you so much for this contribution to the conversation. You are going to be a welcome addition to CAF.


Cindi, yes, what a wonderful post. You touched my heart. The point about God leading us… that thought is so comforting. I definitely need to learn to listen better to the Holy Spirit than to my own fear and scrupulosity. Otherwise I’ll just get hung up in my thoughts - and then what kind of a precondition would that be for leading a life of live and sharing??

Thank you for the wise words. This really has been a continuous problem for me.


Kathrin, you have been given a great light! This sentence describes so much about you, and if you really work on that, pray about it, bring it up in confession for the extra graces you’ll get, you will make much progress in your spiritual life. You’re on the verge of a great big step in the right direction!



I am feeling soo encouraged!



Kathrin, I hope you don’t mind some simple advice from me re scruples - and yes, this is the “voice of experience.” When you go to confession any time anywhere, with a priest who doesn’t know you, it’s very helpful to begin the process by telling the priest that you suffer from scruples. This is a help to him and therefore a help to you. God bless you! Catharina

You should never willingly give someone something that will contribute to their destruction.

Jesus wants us to have an attitude of generosity, He did not specify WHAT to give. Start by giving everyone who asks of you a blessing. Take a moment to intercede for them, that God’s will be done in their life, and that He will meet their every need, and most especially, save them from the pit of hell. From that point,the Spirit may lead you to do other things. I like to carry a bag of apples to share.

I recommend if you are going to give, do it through a recognized program. I learned this from mylocal news, who sent a staffer to one of the corners and he collected $ 400 + in one day. There are some people who are not poor that make a living pretending they are. For that reason, I try to support programs that are providing for the “real” poor.

Also, remember that Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you”, so if you did not respond today, you can always do so tomorrow!

thanks for your good advice, and no, of course I don’t mind!:slight_smile:

Guanophore - thank you for the long reply, those are very wise words.
I do know some of the people who ask me for money may have more than I do.
Living on a minimal, minimal amount of money myself, I often get a bit between a rock and a hard place here - when I share it usually isn’t from my superfluence, but it may mean that I will not buy myself something healthier to eat. Mine is a kind of complicated situation too. As a street performer, I kind of depend on the generosity of others as well…

But I do have that spirit of generosity, and I want to hold on to that (but not the sruples. but the spirit - yes!) :slight_smile: I believe that God will povide, that we can share and still have enough.

But like Betsy said - it is the Spirit I need to listen to.

Sometimes I even get a little angry inside, thinking I may have given some of my money that i could really have used myself to somebody who may just use it for drugs or alcohol. But then, on th eother side - what is that anger about??? if I feel like that, I want to pray. For the person I gave to, for myself, for everyone. Because that again is not in the sense of the spirit of generosity, or the spirit of love. Love casts out anger… and fear.

Sometimes when I play my music a guy comes up to me and wants to sell me old books and stuff. Or asks me for some change. Often I give him some. Today I said from the beginning that I couldn’t do it every time. And felt guilty afterward. :frowning: But I am really not sure what he spends the money on. He was nice today, anyway. Didn’t ask me for anything. He has given me stuff before too.

Sometimes I just feel like sharing. I think I kind of KNOW when the Spirit leads me. WHERE the Spirit leads me. My own scruples confuse me sometimes. And sometimes it is hard to differentiate between scruples and just plain not-wanting-to-give… but it’s a learning process.

Life is beautiful, I know that.

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