How should Christians Respond to street beggars who ask for money?

While it is a duty for us as Christians to feed the hungry and the needy (James 1:27), most Christians would admit that they struggle with this question and some end up in a compromised generosity and giving just for the sake of giving.

You've probably ran into a beggar at some point in your life who asked you for money to buy food or anything for that matter and for a moment you just didn”™t know what to do, whether to give him the money or buy him the very things he needs but avoiding him was not an option. We have all experienced such situations and were very perplexed at the very moment; sometimes we doubt if they will buy those very things or use the money in exchange for alcohol and drugs, and sometimes we end up interrogating them before offering our help.

Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount said “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”(Mat 5:42 ESV). We can all agree that refusing to help the one who begs from us while we have the opportunity to is never an option; though some might hold that the interpretation of this verse is not to be taken literally, generosity is still one of the characteristics of Christianity and we cannot dismiss it because of selfish reasons. Let us use the example in the book of James, though the context is a bit different here; “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” Jas 2:15-16.

How should we respond?

If someone comes to you and asks you of anything, you are to help that person without scrutinizing whether they are telling you the truth or not unless the truth is obvious, and if they are lying to you it's God”™s business not yours. But in many cases for instance; someone asks you for money to buy alcohol or drugs, you are to refuse to help that person but, not because you don”™t want to, but for their own good. The most common example is of one who asks you for money pretending he wants to buy food and you know he has a problem with alcohol or drugs, it's not a sin to tell that person you will not give him/her cash, but you must offer to buy them the food in the nearby shops.

What about those who takes advantage of me because I am a Christian?

In cases such as this one you are to suffer wrong and allow yourself to be defrauded (1 Cor. 6:7), The Lord Jesus said we should pray for them who despitefully use us (Luk_6:28  ). But this does not mean you are not to confront them, you can, but in a brotherly way; but if you know that he/she really needs your help, you aught to help that person without looking at it as a way of using you but as unto The Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria