This Little Light of Mine (a.k.a. How dare you challenge my beliefs!)

I really enjoy this website. I have never had at my disposal, more Black Lights and Burnt Candles, in my life. This is a real treasure chest. However, I do need to ask a couple of questions (Your thoughts are important to me…I have not thrown anything away yet today…I need your help.);

  1. I am wondering if it is righteous to seek receipts for our donations.

  2. I am wondering, whether it is righteous, as a landlord, to seek eviction of a tenant, when I know that this tenant has lost his job, has trouble feeding himself, cannot afford to pay his rent, is sick (doctors cannot find out what is wrong with him), welfare does not provide enough money to him, and he is totally depressed. I, on the other hand, can survive, even if I have to help the renter out for a few months, and write the rent revenue off.

  3. I am wondering if it righteous, to ask a beggar what he is going to use my money for, before I give it to him.

Brother, you are asking tough questions. I think the answers are in yourself, if you open yourself to the Holy Spirit. I cannot comment on yours, because if I do, I would be judging you, which I don’t want to do.

Hi Reuben. Thank you for your response.

I asked the questions that you have responded to, for the purpose of hi-lighting reality. We often (as Christians) believe that we are righteous, but are faced with very difficult decisions (the world…satan versus God’s Word). We are warned not to worry about tomorrow, because there is sufficient evil in the world today, to worry about. We are constantly being tested to see if we are really ‘worthy’. Even though we know that the answer to my three questions is actually, “no,” we try to find a ‘solution’ to make it a “yes.”

God does not ask for a receipt when He gives to us. A receipt automatically identifies you as the donor. Even church tithes should be in secret, that you may be rewarded openly by God. We have to realize, that any ‘tax refund’ that we receive, increases the tax burden required to be paid by others, who may be heavily negatively affected by this increase. I have also witnessed in one church, that a pastor tread very lightly around his largest contributors within his church congregation. It was affecting his teachings and beliefs. I totally refuse to identify myself with my church contributions. Donations to various charities, are a different matter. I receive a receipt, in order to keep the charities ‘honest’, but throw the receipts away.

The ‘Landlord-Tenant’ situation that I mentioned above, is true. I am the landlord. I constantly write off rent amounts, and provide my tenant with additional cash, cigarettes, etc. when he is in ‘dire straights’. As a Christian, I believe that all Christians should do the same. I constantly see examples of people going after those that owe them money, and then feeling good about themselves, because they made donations/contributions to charities and churches. They all used their receipts for tax purposes (I prepare their income tax returns, and hear their stories). I do not believe that their acts are righteous. Others may disagree with me.

I never ask a ‘beggar’ on the steet what they want my money for. I simply ask them how much they need. I then double the amount, and give it to them. In more than one case, I knew that they were going to a ‘bar’ with it. This does not bother me. My charity is judged by God. The beggar will also be judged in the end.

Thanks again, for your response. :slight_smile:

Hi Swariffin. Thank you for your response (I smiled when I read it.).

Charity is the greatest gift that you can give to a person. It shows that you have kindness in your heart, and really care for others. There is one gift that is greater (leading a person to God/Christ), but in order to do so, you should see if the other person has carnal needs that you can help with. This is a true matching of ‘works and faith’.

Take care. :slight_smile:

You are welcome.

Like I said, it is always a challenge to be righteous. Even if we can achieve it when being tested, very often it is not by our strength but the power of the Holy Spirit. In humility I don’t consider myself righteous but I try to be one. In reality I may make bad decision on certain issues and occasions but I would consider them as platforms for learning to avoid similar mistakes should the same situations present themselves again.

Tithe, collections during Catholic mass and love offerings require no receipts. Donations to charities and private bodies do. If they are substantial enough I may want the tax refund to be channelled to another charity of my choice.

Your pastor is affected by the harsh reality of human selfishness. It must be a difficult decision for him to make. We also see this kind of things sometimes happen in the Catholic Church too. You want to build a new centre for the youth; you need generous contribution from your wealthy parishioner – you may need to do a very difficult balancing act. We can only pray that donors are steeped in the word of God and that we have the grace to hold steadfast to His word too.

Thank God for you. Once a while we have Christians who live the life of the Gospel and that can be very encouraging to the others. You just witness to us.

Again, I do not see anything wrong or ‘unrighteous’ to get receipts for tax purpose. Basically is boils down to the heart – why do you want it?

Again, praise God for you. I can learn something from that.

God bless.

Being a landlord myself, I held my breath waiting to get to this answer. They could buy beer, but they couldn’t pay their rent. When asked if they would help me with some handyman job to go toward back rent, they were busy all the sudden. They watched as I picked up their beer cans from the yard, and spilled can of coke on the pretty new carpet? I cleaned it while they watched tv.

My charity ended at 3 months past due rent. I did the eviction. In texas, you’re just out the money because small claims is only a judgment piece of paper.

I’ve never felt good about it. Would God have provided the $$ in another way? (My question to myself) Because it’s not like I’m independently wealthy. I have 16 units - word was probably getting around of his free ride because other’s seem to be following his lead. If business is business, do Christians have any business being in the landlord business? That’s what I’m asking myself now.

What would you have done? I’m not looking for anyone to say I was right. I’m looking for what would have been the will of God in this situation, because I struggled with it and never got a clear answer.

Wow. 16 units are quite plenty. Why don’t you let the professionals handle them for you so that you can save yourself from evicting pesky tenants?

Being Christians does not mean we should not be in business; the difference is we’re Christian business people. Being Christian make you a different businessman compared to those who are non-Christians because you’d be abiding by the teaching of Jesus.

There are certain fields where Christians will not involve themselves in. Some are more obvious than the other. I will definitely advise you against running a lottery, for example. Earlier on I was thinking of being landlord on a small scale where you would simply rent out the excess rooms or house (s).

I don’t know what you mean by 16 units. I take it as apartments or houses. If I am to own them I will not rent them. They are far too many and worth much more than the rent could account for. Perhaps make some profit and sell them off and go into some other business where your heart will be more at peace?

In any case, inconsiderate people should not earn your generosity simply because it’s an abuse. St. Paul said we must earn our keep / work for our living. It is dishonest for tenants not to pay their rent but can have beer drinking spree; things I should say not basic to life requirement.

So it all about context, not different than in how we try to understand the Bible, not forgetting that we are always to be ruled by love.

God bless you.

I have two separate houses that I rent out. I have used the eviction process twice. I will only use it, if the tenants are thankless lazy liars, that abuse my kindness and my property. (You evidently have experienced the same thing, as I have.)

It is unfortunate, that a very few people will destroy a good thing for others, that may appreciate such kindness. We have to keep trying to ‘turn over a new leaf’ with each new tenant, and expect some failures. Fortunately, over the life-to-date rental of my properties, I have had more successes than failures. I do not hate the ‘bad’ tenants. I really feel sorry for them. There is no God in them. They are like an empty shell. Every day in their lives is a repetition of the previous day. They just don’t care. They live for today’s earthly pleasures (at all cost).

To add a little humour, I always remember God’s Word. God tells us that He gives unto the righteous and the unrighteous. I then have to ask myself, “Am I greater than God?” I usually smile through it all, knowing that God first gave me the wealth to purchase the properties, before satan came along and attempted to destroy them. I don’t particularily like that little man in the red suit, with horns on his head. I just can’t get rid of him. He follows me around like ‘Murphy’. :slight_smile:

You likewise.

It has been my experience that professionals think your money is their money. With a mortgage, I have to know where I stand month to month.

Reuben, I appreciate your response. I’ve been at this for 3 years and this isn’t the first eviction. They are all hard because you know you are putting someone out on the street, and I know that I shouldn’t be taking responsibility for choices they made, but it’s still hard and conflicting.

A woman lived in my apartments and stopped working because she had breast cancer and had to go through chemo. She lived their rent free for a year (my choice for charity) and when she left she took 7 of my tenants (her buddies) with her. My carpet cleaner said “you must wear a sign that says sucker”.

Before you get the idea that I’m some kind of weak-willed pushover, know that my apartments are across the street from public housing. Never once have I projected “weak”.

Your response was comforting. Thank you.

Thorwald, this, too is good news to hear. The world says “business is business”, a no-brainer, but I’m a God pleaser and so I’m more interested in what the body of Christ says. His Word is clear - give. But there have to be boundaries. Thanks for your response.

I liked your “little man in the red suit”. I have a Catholic friend who won’t say “devil” or satan, and calls him “the man in the black hat”. Satan steals my money but he can’t steal my joy. :slight_smile:

I LOVE this:

Well said, Reuben! Where is pride when we realize that everything good inside of us - He put there. How humbling is the awareness that we can’t even take credit for our righteous acts. And how can we not love the unlovable when we know, had we not been chosen (or chose Him), we could have just as easily have been them.

My take on these three questions is a little different from what has been posted thus far.

When I itemized my income tax deductions, I had no problem with getting a receipt from the church and listing those contributions. While it isn’t totally private, it isn’t (or shouldn’t be) public, either. The only ones who should know are those who have access to the books at the church, the IRS, me, and God. I consider taxes an obligation (render unto Caesar), Caesar sets the rules, and I follow them. That leaves more money for other charitable donations. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with getting a receipt or statement and taking such a deduction as long as it’s not done to get praise from our fellow man.

Evictions and the like should be handled on a case by case basis, as you have apparently been doing, and I admire you for your conviction in trying to live God’s word.

As for the beggar, I usually offer a meal rather than cash, if that’s what the person says he needs money for. In retirement, I have very limited resources and believe that God calls me to be a good steward of what He has given me. That does not include giving money to an alcoholic to buy a bottle of cheap wine, but does include feeding the hungry. If I can’t do both, then I have to choose.

Our St. Vincent de Paul Society conducts in-home interviews before donating groceries, paying electric bills, etc., to those who have requested help. If the trash can or refrigerator is full of empty or full beer cans, the request is usually denied, again trying to be good stewards of the funds others have donated.

I once “rented” two rooms and a bath in my home to a homeless woman and her 12 year old daughter. She turned out to be a drug addict, never paid me a cent, wrecked my car, and would stay gone for days at the time, leaving me to get her daughter to school and otherwise take care of her. The final straw was when I discovered she had been using drugs in my home and I had little choice but to kick them out.

That experience cost me about $10 grand, but I was responsible only for my actions, not hers. She could have been Jesus in disguise (whatever you do for the least of these…) and the money was a small price to pay compared to what the price may have been on judgement day if I had denied her when I had the ability to help. It was perhaps a foolish choice on my part, but I have never regretted trying to help her, although if the opportunity ever presents itself again, I will try to be more discerning.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.