Is it a sin not to help others?

Here in the Philippines, beggars are everywhere. They’re in streets, buses, schools, and malls. When they approach me, sometimes I reject their plea. Since God commanded us to help the needy, is it a sin not to do so?

What if you’re not that rich yourself? My family belongs to the low-middle class, my parents are unemployed, and me and my siblings are yet to graduate. Does that excuse me? Mom and dad told me it’s okay to give to those less fortunate than us, but only very sparingly, as I need money too. They say I can give frequently to the poor only once I have a stable job and sufficient savings for me to survive. Is that ok?

Or how about more petty things, like if my classmate asks me for a pen, but I refuse, because we all know that pen only has a 20% chance of being returned. Another example is when people ask me to do surveys but I turn them down because I just don’t feel like it or I don’t have the time. Is that sinful?

It is sinfull to hold an attitude that others do not need our help or to reject the christian teaching that we have a duty to help our bretheren.

That does not obligate you to give everything you have to the first beggar who asks you for spare change.

You are currently not of independent means. A more helpful way for you to fulfill the call of Christ to help the needy would be to volunteer some of your time to a local charity who are working with a group of needy people in your area: eg. voulinteer at a soup-kitchen or homeless shelter - or prison or hospital visitation or some similar mission as exists in your area…

If there’s a group that particularly attracts you which you already know about then join that, otherwise ask your parish priest or college Chaplain what ministries are active in your area.

One can always pray for those in need. Prayer is also a way of helping. It should not *substitute *for helping when we *can. *

For example, pens… a person only has so many pens. If one only has one or two pens then one may not be in a position to occasionally “lend” one out. If a classmate *continually *forgets to bring a pen to class, and one suspects he has a stash of one’s own pens at home, it is ok to say sorry I can’t even if one has a lot of pens.

Are there charities helping the extremely poor where you live? Sometimes that is more efficient than giving a tiny bit to several beggars. If the Church helps the poor, put a little money in the poor box and say a prayer for them.

There is only so much one person can do–we are limited. But this should not mean that we harden our hearts: we should still be moved by the plight of the poor and at least pray for them.

First it depend on what kind of help someone need. If it is to rob a bank I would not recomend helping them. But to your question. You seem to really want to help, and that is a good thing. If you can’t give them money or food, stop and talk with them for a while, maybe you could pray with them. A good intention, made sincerely and honest is almost the same thing.

Poverty has always been amongst the human race has walk on this earth, and it is sad. But we all can help. All of us can not give money but we can give time. Time to stop for a while, reflecting on what cause poverty. Many have a long history that include drugs and booze, but we shall not judge them. Whatever the reason is, we can help, to judge will not, there is always something we can do, and don’t forget the story about Lazarus and the rich man.

my siblings’ father has become a beggar. he has a girlfriend and a baby girl now and they live in a motel room. he goes out and holds a sign begging for money to help him care for his child. i spoke to him about this. his girlfriend was getting assistance until they found out she was with him and then he refused to fulfill the work requirement that would allow them to keep the welfare. i have to say i don’t really like him and feel sorry for his daughter.
a couple of weeks ago i saw a family begging the same way. it made me think of him and i wondered if they really needed help or were like him. i did not help them. i have encountered others who tried to take advantage of me or other people and have heard of people who actually make their living this way. it makes me not want to help them. maybe i should just carry non-parishable food items to hand out?
or is it sinful for me to not want to give to them? i am poor myself. i carry little money except for what i give to the church. i give food to the church for drives even though i have to use foodstamps. i just have a hard time trusting these people with money given my experiences.

In your situation, I wouldn’t worry too much. I’ve seen many beggars who are clearly just looking for money for alcohol. The times have changed since the days of my hero Pier Frassati. If you feel called to help the less fortunate, it is probably wise to donate to charities that help the poor and homeless. There might be some churches in your diocese that have programs that feed the homeless

You can morally refer such people to local charities, since you are not in a position to help them.

All right, but what if I had money in my pocket, a beggar child begs to me, and I do not give him cash, because I want to save? I still give away money when I really pity the beggar or if I was able to save a lot for the week, but is it bad to not answer beggars every once in a while?

Is there a charity you could refer him to?

If you can help, but want to save your money, I would say that is a decision you must live with.

So is it sin or not? Is it ok to pray for them instead of giving them money during these occasions?

Is there a charity you could refer them to?

No, at least none that I know of. I watched a Philippine TV documentary showing various churches doing feeding programs, but there are very scattered and even then the beggars still beg.

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