Just because someone is socially bound to us—such as a family member or a friend—that doesn’t mean that we are responsible to give every time they ask. Just because a person looks down and out doesn’t mean that they need spare change. We need to find out what the person really needs and then determine what the best way to meet that need. To do this, we have to follow the complicated process of asking questions and receiving honest answers. Sometimes this is easy to do, sometimes this is difficult. No matter what, it is almost never quick. Interview the person you want to give to, and find out what they really need.
On the other hand, just because a person has taken advantage of your generosity before, or because they are in trouble because of their sin, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be helped this time. We must evaluate the person’s need—not our feelings about them, or our judgements about them. If they are in need, we are responsible to give.
I notice, especially around Christmas time, that people love to give to children. I understand-- there is joy in giving to children and you feel even better if you give to children who are poor. They don't get toys as other children do.
But often the purpose of giving to children is to make us feel good about ourselves, or to help the children "keep up with the Joneses".
But it disturbed me this year and last that people were so generous to my children, going out of their way to generously giving a lot of unnecessary toys to my kids, when there were homeless people on the edge of death because they had no warmth.
The last couple weeks it was difficult to get churches involved in granting the homeless shelter, hand warmers, gloves, coats, etc. But giving unnecessary gifts to kids who already have their needs met was easy.
It just disturbs me.