What do you think of family members helping others, not their own?

And not helping family members that are starving, can’t pay bills and more? How would God look at that? My sister is struggling as I am and members of our family are helping raise money for their Churches, women’s groups, Syrians, Overseas and letting family members go hungry and more. My Nieces and Nephew not helping their Mother, when she was a very good mother to them when they were small, gave a lot of money to Ireland.

I know you can’t make people behave the way you think they should, it’s their money and they can do with it as they may, but, to let my sister struggle and giving donations overseas hurts my heart.

If I am wrong, let me know but my Father always told us growing up that you help the family first. We were raised on that quote and have taken it to my soul.

I help as much as I can being poor as I am and I really don’t think wealthy family members not helping their own is right.

What say you?

Thank you for your responses in advance.


As anyone in St Vincent dePaul ministry will tell you, sometimes the “help” is to try to get someone to stand on their own two feet and not enable their poor financial habits.
We don’t know your family dynamic, but sometimes we can help someone pick themselves up and be self-sufficient.
I wish you all the best.


Do they know you and your sister are struggling financially? Do you know they have as much as you think they do? Helping to raise money does not necessarily mean they have money, if you see what I mean. As Clare says, family dynamics is also an important factor.

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Sadly, “virtue signalling” and “moral preening” are part of our fallen human nature.

Given two choices, “I have donated $X to this wonderful charity” vs “I offered to pay the electric bill for a family member who needed it”, which one will look best on Social Media? No one gives an award and public accolades to those who simply help family, but, I can get my picture in the paper if I give a nice donation to XYZ charity.


It is neither right or wrong, or is both. There are simply too many variables for an absolute answer. Children have a responsibility to elderly parents, to be sure. If hunger and starvation is really an issue, then of course there is a responsibility, but I do not think this is much of a case in America.

Paul writing to Timothy said we must provide for our household especially. How far this extends to the extended family would depend on the needs, I think. Is it for food, or for a car note, for example. Sending money to help the strangers who are starving is laudable, and one could argue that should come first before helping relatives with non-life-threatening needs.

Another consideration, especially with children, is that a co-dependency can exist if help is always extended regardless of circumstances. There is a time parents must say “no” to their adult children or they will never mature.

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I cant speak for all families, only my own. But on a personal level when I have offered support like that to some of my siblings. Eventually it felt like they were taking advantage of me and my familys giving, because they are the type of people who take advantage of our generosity. For example, my husband and I let my younger brother stay with us for a time because he was laid off and on the verge of being homeless. After many months he found a job but he was very hesitant to find his own place, because as a bachelor he couldn’t find an affordable 3 bed 2 bath HOUSE to rent. As a grown man he no longer wanted an apartment, he wanted to rent a house(nevermind, that he was living with us rent free. He wanted us to continue with our generosity) My husband and him had a big argument, my husband gave him a deadline to find his own place and yes my brother was out at that deadline. He went and lived on another persons couch for a few months until he found his rental house

That is another issue. Helping out a family member outside of emergency intervention is not worth damaging a marriage.


I agree, and to be honest, in the end my husband and I felt so taken advantage of. If my brother was ever to find himself in that situation again we’d be hesitant to offer him the same kind of generosity again.

As others have said, it really depends on the family dynamic.

It’s relatively easy to help a family member who has had a good relationship with you over the years and suddenly finds themself in some temporary jam through little or no fault of their own.

It’s something else again when the relationship hasn’t been all that good, the needy person is constantly needing help, and/or the needy person is bringing it on themself by their own bad choices in life. I’ve seen this over and over with addicts or people who just cannot seem to get/keep a job. In these cases, the giver will usually either cut off the money at some point or will feel really taken advantage of.

In families, especially parents and children, there’s often a lot of guilt-tripping also, like “if you really loved me you’d give me the money” or “you owe me this money because of all I’ve done for you or put up with from you.” I myself don’t respond well to guilt tripping and would refuse to give any money if someone pulled that.

Having said all that, there are some cases of family members who are unkind or insensitive to family member’s legitimate needs, while they give money to other charities for social recognition or virtue signaling or whatever.

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I broke my neck and I’m disabled and painfully handicapped. Can’t work. I wish I could. I would give anything besides depend on the Government that doesn’t do much for me. We don’t have much for the disabled or elderly in the state of Texas. I don’t make enough money and go hungry most of the time. There aren’t any neighbors around me, no family or friends come see me at all. I sat here at Christmas all alone, no friends, no family, no gifts, nothing. Yet, I still sang, Happy Birthday to Jesus.

I am 63 years old, severely isolated out in the country, no car, no TV, or rather no cable or antennae, and no land phone. I have a cell. It’s a 2011 model, flip top and doesn’t work half the time. All I do is call and receive calls. Yet, I am grateful to have it. The old desktop I’m on which also messes on me is paid by a caregiver who counts every penny. Grateful to have that too. I also live in a mobile home that is falling apart. I can’t walk easily. But it is what it is.

Further, I can’t even get to my Catholic Church. It’s a poor parish. We don’t have St. Vincent DePaul, nor any charities in my town. I struggle not monthly, not yearly, but daily. But it is what it is.

If and If I get to A pantry I share with another person who is poor. God gave me that heart.

The dynamics are what they are. Still, I rely on God because people will disappoint you and besides, you can’t force people to do what is right. They are going to do what they are going to do.

Praise God if you are not in my situation, but, please know I still get enjoyment when I see a pretty day, beautiful stars, a nice thought or a stray cat does a funny antic. It is what it is.

I’m glad my Dad instilled in us that your family comes first. Not the people in Ireland or the Syrians or the Middle Easterns. Family members donate to them. Daddy told us to take care of your family members first, then if you have money left over…donate.

It is what it is. And I’m not seeking permanent help from my millionaire family members. Yes, I have people in my family who are. True.

Before I go, I’d like to say one thing. I noticed that the disabled people help other people who are disabled because they know how it is.

God Bless everyone.


Praying that God touches the hearts of your family to help you and your sister, Shelia.


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There must be a way you can make your family members understand your situation. Pray for guidance and offer your suffering to God.

Every situation is different. I’ve got family I wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire.

I’ve give money/food/water to complete strangers without a second thought.

I also tend to have more sympathy for kids in bad environments than I do adults who are supposed to be responsible for themselves.

I offer my suffering to God all the time. I have no quarrel with my family members. They are narcissists and anyone who knows them, know it’s true. God knows.

I understand about kids. One time, I used my money which I could ill afford to do and fed seven people on it. It was hard going, hard cooking for the kids but I did it. Their Mom was on drugs. I would do it again and run (ha) and cry later in pain. God helped me do this.

I understand about helping children, Jan Sobieskill, that’s why I did it. But, I am too ill to help myself. And if you are saying I must help myself, you are wrong. It’s like telling a drowning person to save himself when they know not how to swim.

Thank you for all your replies and kindness in doing so. I shall go elsewhere. Prayer is all I needed anyway. And Katie, thank you and Dan.


People that can’t help themselves aren’t who I was talking about. Able bodied adults who choose not to shoulder their responsibility is.

1 Timothy 5:4 If a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.

1 Timothy 5:8 If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I think what is happening may not be acceptable in the sight of God. Pray for them, that they might be healed.

Jesus even criticized things given to God, when the family needed them.

“And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) - then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on.” Mark 7

It would appear that honoring mother and father means that what should go to them should not even be offered to God.

It should hurt your heart. Your heart knows that an injustice has occurred. It is right that your heart testifies that a wrong has been done.

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This strikes a chord with me because sometimes I feel like my brother-in-law spends more effort tending to the needs of other people than he does to his own wife (my sister) and their children.

It’s frustrating.

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