TO HELP OR NOT TO HELP



Charity and the Common Good (from Catholic Catechism)

  • 1822 "Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God."
  • 1878 "Charity is the greatest social commandment.  It respects others and their rights.  It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it.  Charity inspires a life of self-giving: 'Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.'"
  • 1910 "Each human community possesses a common good which permits it to be recognized as such; it is in the political community that its most complete realization is found.  It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society, its citizens, and intermediate bodies."
  • 1911 "Human interdependence is increasing and gradually spreading throughout the world.  The unity of the human family, embracing people who enjoy equal natural dignity, implies a universal common good.  This good calls for an organization of the community of nations able to provide for the different needs of men; this will involve the sphere of social life to which belong questions of food, hygiene, education...and certain situations arising here and there, as for example...alleviating the miseries of refugees dispersed throughout the world, and assisting migrants and their families."
  • 1912 "The common good is always oriented towards the progress of persons:  The order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons, and not the other way around.' This order is founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love."
  • 2439 "Rich nations have a grave moral responsibility toward those which are unable to ensure the means of their development by themselves or have been prevented from doing so by tragic historical events.  It is a duty in solidarity and charity; it is also an obligation in justice if the prosperity of the rich nations has come from resources that have not been paid for fairly."
  • 2440 "Direct aid is an appropriate response to immediate, extraordinary needs caused by natural catastrophes, epidemics, and the like.  But it does not suffice to repair the grave damage resulting from destitution or to provide a lasting solution to a country's needs.  It is also necessary to reform international economic and financial institutions so that they will better promote equitable relationships with less advanced countries.  The efforts of poor countries working for growth and liberation must be supported."

Christianity

​While Jews continue to wait for the Messiah, Christians believe Jesus Christ is that Messiah.  They believe in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Christ is the Son of God who was born of the Virgin Mary to save mankind from the sin that affected all individuals after Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit and were cast out of the Garden of Eden.  Faith in Christ's death and resurrection is perceived as the only way to salvation from one's sins and to eternal life.  The written record of the life and teachings of Christ provide guidance for how to live life.   Christians believe that the laws of the Old Testament included in Judaism can be summed up in one commandment: "Love others as you love yourself" (Matthew 22:37-40). 

The Christian community includes Catholics and Protestants. They differ in which scriptures they accept as guides for daily living and in the extent of their respective unity.  Catholics receive guidance from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church which reflects the interpretation of scriptures by the Pope in Rome and his cardinals. 

Protestants are distributed across many denominations, each having their own structure.  The major denominations include Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist. Curricula from each denomination guides ministers and layman in the interpretation of the Protestant Bible.  That Bible consists of 39 books in the Old Testament (similar to the Jewish Torah, Prophets and Writings) and 27 books of the New Testament.  Christians consider the Bible to be inspired by God though written by many authors over time.  Because the Bible was written in ancient times in different cultural settings, the Bible has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the centuries.  The meaning, however, has remained basically the same. Influences on help giving come especially from the New Testament and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. ​

Who to Help and How

  • Feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35)
  • Give water to the thirsty (Matthew 25:35)
  • Clothe the naked (Matthew 25:36)
  • Give to the poor (Luke 3:11; Galatians 2:10)
  • Visit the sick (Matthew 25:36)
  • Visit those in prison (Matthew 25:36)
  • Take care of widows (1 Timothy 5:3)
  • Take care of relatives (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • Love and help your neighbors (James 2:8)
  • Invite strangers into the home (Matthew 25:35)
  • Forgive as God has forgiven you (Luke 15: 11-32; Luke 17:3)
  • Love others as yourself (Galatians 5:14)
  • Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27 and 35)
  • Be a Good Samaritan to strangers in trouble (Luke 10:30-37)
  • Among the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, the greatest of these is charity (1 Corinthians 13)
  • Do not tire of doing what is right (Galatians 6:9)
  • Use the abilities God has given you to help others  (Ephesians 4:11-13, 16)
  • Encourage one another (1Thesalonians 5:11)
  • When God's children are in need, help them. (Romans 12:13)
  • Humbly and gently guide back to the right path a fellow Christian who is overcome by sin. (Galatians 6:1)
  • Seek God's help in times of need.  (Psalm 70:5)
  • The Lord is my Helper and I will not fear what mere man can do to me (Hebrews 13:5-6)
  • The fruit of the spirit, useful in helping others, are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
  • Stay true to what is right and God will bless you and use you to help others.(1 Tim 4:16)
  • Live a life of steady goodness so only good deeds come forth. (James 3:13)
  • God is helping you obey Him and do what he wants (Philippians 2:13)
  • Knowing what is right to do and not doing it is a sin. (James 4:17)