The Evangelical Universalist Forum



I live in a very small community. In my neighboring larger communities, (mid west USA) it seems like panhandling has become a norm, to the point where for the most part you don’t even acknowledge them. They are there every day. Every major intersection has four to eight panhandlers.

I just returned from a trip to a Northern city (upper Midwest USA) and this morning before I left to come home, I was sitting in my car and a man came and knocked on my window while I was still in my car in a parking space, He asked me for money for some food at Mc Donalds.

Just wondering what you all would have done and your thoughts on the subject. Forgive if it has been discussed, as I tried to search for the subject but could not find anything. :smiley:


I gave once. That was it. Giving to panhandlers isn’t going to lift them out of poverty. Only a full-time job can do that.


I had an easy choice a few weeks ago. I was leaving Winco after doing a bit of shopping, and had grabbed a very nice slice of pizza on the way out. As I carried my purchases and the pizza to the car, I was panhandled for money for food.
I gave him the pizza, he sat down on an abutment and proceeded to eat it happily.
My wife, when approached for money for MacDonalds - always in the Winco parking lot - locks up the car, walks the person 100 feet over to McD’s, and buys them a meal. Usually. She has a good sense of who is panhandling for a bottle of Thunderbird!!


Well, I didn’t believe it. But the Calvinist site - Got Questions - has some advice to give:

How should a Christian respond to beggars?
Where/how do you draw the line between helping someone and allowing someone to take advantage of you?


How should a Christian respond to beggars?

Jesus Himself answered that question:


Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Mt 5:42 ESV)

I think this is really a general principal since Jesus also said to be as wise as a serpent and we know many beggars would buy liquor with the money and i believe Jesus said something against lending people money because we should not expect it back.


Well Steve, if it’s a “general principle” then it would include beggars.

Not all beggars are boozers. But in the case of those whom you suspect will spend it on booze—this situation has been addressed already on this thread. If the beggar claims to be hungry, and asks you for just enough for a hamburger, invite him to a restaurant and buy him a hamburger. Buy some french fries for him, too.

I’d like to relate a situation I encountered on the East Caribbean island of Grenada. (I spent a week there—the only country I ever visited other than United States). Most of the residents in the country are descendants of British slaves. In Grenada, you drive an automobile (if you have one) on the left side of the road as in Britain.

I met a man in the capital “city” (if you could call it that) of Georgetown, who sat in a wheelchair. His legs had been cut off above the knees. I asked him how he made a living. He said he was a beggar. I asked him whether he received any help from the government. He said that he did, but that it was not enough to live on. He never did ask me for money. However, I offered him a small amount which he gratefully accepted. Ever afterward, I wished I had given him more.


Don, is there a situation, where you would ‘not’ give to a panhandler?


Paidion has it. Not only is Paidion biblical but he is speaking from a truly enlightened heart. Paidion’s response shows him to have his name in the book of life.


I agree. Simply giving people money and food is not going to solve the problem. In dong so we become enablers. Is this what Jesus was teaching? Is this real love? No. Jesus was raising people from the dead, restoring lives, and “teaching them to fish”. We are to be doing the same. I feel that anything less than this is a self righteous work.


Self-righteousness or not, some hungry people get fed or clothed and I remember a line out of LOTR: “Quench not a warm heart with cold counsel”.
Sometimes we are showing kindness to angels, unaware? (Of course, if it’s someone ruined by meth addiction we could probably be sure it is not an angel we are dealing with…)


From what I understand, we are to give each according to their need. What do panhandlers need? I just think that throwing money in a can in passing as you head back to your nice warm house is basically superficial. We can pat ourselves on the back thinking we did a good deed for the day. This is turning a blind eye to their real need. Maybe taking the time to address the real problem is too cumbersome and requires more of an effort on our part. This is how we treat pigs more or less, throw them some slop and let them continue to roll around in the mud! I can understand if one does not have a lot of time to spare, but then give money to support an organization like AA that actually helps.




You’re a true man Randy.



As it is written, “If a man does not work neither shall he eat.” Jesus himself says in Mark 7:27 “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” I believe this refers to beggars/moochers/lazy people who don’t really want to be helped but instead want to live off of other people. There are plenty of organizations that offer help to those who seriously want to change.


Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. ~~ Ephesians 4:28

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

For I was an hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. ~~ Matthew 25:42-46

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor. 9:7


In A.A. we get sponsors to help us out and work the steps. He’s somebody we can talk to and work through our issues with. The 87 year old man who was my sponsor from A.A. and father to me (who I help out now) has been a great help to me and influence in the changed personality and spiritual awakening I’ve been through. When I was down and out he and his family took me in and loved me when I was unlovable. Here’s what I wrote my A.A. sponsor - father - friend and had it framed with this scripture:

I agree with the Bible and Mother Teresa because it works. It has for me anyway. I had nothing. It took time but I’m able to function and communicate and relate to people now. Because of the charity of this Catholic man I am where I’m at today. I mean, I’ve come alive since I met this good man. I’ve never been able to function and communicate and relate to people my whole life. This has all changed since meeting my best friend I have ever known.


This is why I’m wary of panhandlers. In my area there are Christian organizations that give food and shelter to people on hard times. I ask myself, “Why are panhandlers on street corners asking for donations when there are places they can go for free food and shelter?”


St Michael said:

LLC said:

qaz said:

Randy said:

DaveB said:

Steve said:

Don said:

It seems to me that this is a subject and issue that may not be as compelling or top of mind as evangelical universalism subjects but may well be part of our everyday life. Part of what we deal with and have to face. Homelessness and living on the street verses those who do not want to work for a living… though we have to ask why that would be :astonished: Thanks for the input and if you have other idea’s, please let them be known :smiley: