Q. My husband and I are retired and are financially stable, as the Lord has blessed us. My husband is not a Christ Follower. I have a sister who is 10 years younger than I, and has always been dependent on our parents for at least partial support and housing. She has been in and out of several unsuccessful marriages and has 4 children who are grown now, but are also very unstable. My parents are both deceased now, and now she is frequently approaching me for financial help. I have been helping her, but there seems to be no end to her needs. What does the Bible say about my responsibility to support her? My husband is at the end of his understanding.
A. Paul wrote that anyone who doesn’t provide for his relatives has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8). But he also said that a person who won’t work should not eat (2 Thes. 3:10). To me this separates the one who can’t provide for himself from the one who won’t. From what little you’ve said it sounds like your sister’s problem is not merely financial. I would have to know more about her situation before I could advise you on a course of action. For example, does she have a disability that prevents her from being self sufficient? If so is she currently enrolled in some kind of government assistance program? You say her children are grown. Are they still looking to her for support when they should be on their own?
The answers to these questions should help reveal the true nature of your sister’s problem.