One of the foremost reasons I ever hear for why Christians don’t give to beggars is the claim that said beggars will undoubtedly use the money for buying alcohol. Thus any act of monetary giving is not only unnecessary (despite Matt 5:42 which seems pretty friggin clear), but possibly morally wrong. Well, like I always wonder, what does the Good Book say about this line of thinking?
Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more. (Prov 31:6-7)
Now obviously proverbs are proverbs. But let me just say a couple things. First, most Christians I know who don’t like giving to beggars on the basis of the logic mentioned above tend to love the book of Proverbs. All the stuff about being wise, taking care of yourself, disciplining children with rods, etc. So if that stuff is wise guidance, clearly we can’t just throw this out, right? (Note also that this passage comes right before the eternal evangelical favorite passage about “the virtuous woman” which is always considered the unadulterated voice of God.)
Second, regardless of the particulars of how we approach wisdom literature, doesn’t it matter that the only verse in the Bible that directly speaks to this issue tells us that helping the distressed forget their troubles over some booze is a good thing? I mean, it seems like that would tilt the scales a little, right? Since that’s the only direct reference in Scripture that we have and all . . .
So, be biblical! Give to beggars and don’t try to weasel out of it by blowing smoke about how you don’t want them buying alcohol with it. And if you want to be even more biblical, you could just go ahead and buy them the beer yourself.