December 3, 2013
“The more is given the less the people will work for themselves,
and the less they work the more their poverty will increase.” Leo Tolstoi
To give or not to give, that is the question. If “to give” is the answer, then what should I give, how should I give it, and will it really benefit the recipients? Even God does only for mankind what we cannot do for ourselves. But the giving fever that grips the Western World during the Holidays sometimes makes us blind to the fact that giving too much can harm those who receive.
Most towns have dozens of organizations that provide food, clothes, and toys to families during the month of December. Some are stop-gap emergency providers for the homeless or stricken. But even though the poor will always be among us, the poor should not be a static population of perpetually dependent families and individuals. Most people have the capacity to cycle out of a poverty state.
School-based programs have, unfortunately, allowed parents to abdicate the basic responsibility of feeding their kids. Most school districts offer breakfast and lunch. Many offer dinner, summertime lunch programs and weekend meals. Free and reduced lunches are marketed to families because it opens the door to Federal “Title” funds. Schools and social services organizations encourage people to stay enter or linger in poverty because self-sufficiency shrinks the funds available for the impoverished. Think of it as a looping Ponzi scheme, forever growing the problem it was meant to solve.
There is a program in my town which provides food for children to take home on Friday purportedly, so they will not go hungry before they get their next meal at school. The children are not at fault. Some are hungry but most are victims of poor parenting. The schools, churches, and government programs that will kids, are enabling parental neglect on a massive scale. With little or no screening required, many of these freebie programs are rife with fraud and abuse.
The criminal presence of illegal aliens is rewarded big time during the Holidays by churches and other charities. Because of a fawning politically correct ethos of non-discrimination, entire communities of illegal alien families receive goodies far above and beyond the consideration given to needy citizens. Illegals openly defy the laws of this country, tax the social welfare programs they pay nothing into, and send a large percentage of their cash to other countries.
The Christian Spirit of Love must be tempered with wisdom. Those going through a rough spell because of unemployment, illness, divorce, disability, and other challenges outside of an individual’s control, surely are blessed by Holiday giving. But there is a vastly different mindset among those who come to expect, year in and year out, that someone else will be buying their Christmas goodies.
The shame associated with accepting “handouts” is long gone. Many welfare recipients work the system to use government cash payments as supplemental income so a lifestyle above what they should be able to afford can be maintained. How many of us have witnessed people who pay for groceries with EBT cards, load those tax-payer subsidized groceries into an, expensive, late-model vehicle?
So this is the essence of that burning Christmas question; To give, or not to give? Who benefits most from the giving of others? There is a spiritual cost to those who never know the satisfaction of self-reliance or earned success. Can there truly be freedom where there is no independence?
In making our plans for Christmas and the things we want to give, and to whom, it’s good to remember that we have all received the most generous offering of all, at no cost to us, from the open hands of The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.
By Marjorie Haun 12/3/13