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Should Christians Depend on Government Welfare?

Welfare Paperwork

By no means is it a necessity that Christians be politically conservative, but it just so happens that many are. A number of these politically conservative Christians also find themselves, from time to time, using the welfare system that is in place. It should be clarified, however, that those using the welfare system might speak against it or wish it were abolished (in some capacity). Nevertheless, some rationalize that it is worth the effort to regain the funds that were taxably taken. Though this mentality is understandable, I see two complications.

First, when someone decides to be a participant in the welfare system they become part of the statistic of users. And when the users increase in number, this only reinforces a politician’s belief that the system is worth having (because people use it). So, though the individual using the system may wish for its abolition (in some capacity), their actions only help perpetuate the program(s).

Second, using the welfare system creates a mentality of dependency. It disincentivizes, or better yet…tempts us to get money that we could get even though we may not need it. While we may be legally able to do something, that doesn’t mean we are morally obliged to do it (like using the welfare system when we don’t need to).  And this leads me to the main thrust of my second point.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul wrote:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (emphasis added)

Paul puts a nice formula in place. If you mind your own business and do work, not only will you earn respect but you won’t be dependent on others. And, after all, Christians who aren’t dependent upon the help of others can afford to help those that need help.

So, if we’re not to be dependent on others then what does that mean regarding government aid? Allow me to propose that we don’t use the welfare system if we don’t have to. This proposal doesn’t appear to be radical, but consider how tempting it is to receive money or kickbacks if we know we can get them. Simply because we may qualify doesn’t mean we ought to take the money. And, if one is in need, it should be our goal that the individual (even if it is ourselves) seek help from our family, friends, and our church community. In this way, we can have a lot more authority in our political debates against various welfare programs.