Q. I have separated from my husband because he has refused to seek help for his drug addiction and living with him has become too dangerous for my children and me. I am going to school to be a nurse and money is very tight for us right now. Because of this, I have started using food stamps. I do not plan on using them for very long, but I am wondering if I’m not trusting God to take care of me by doing this. I’m constantly hearing people at church put down people who are on welfare, saying we are lazy and just want a hand-out. It makes me feel so worthless sometimes. I cannot tell if I feel bad about using food stamps because God is convicting me, or if I just feel judged by the people in my church. What do you think about using food stamps?
A. The food stamp program was developed for people who find themselves in a situation like yours and need some temporary help while getting back on their feet. From what you’ve said it appears you’re using the program for its intended purpose. Using food stamps doesn’t mean you’re not trusting God to provide, anymore than going to a doctor would mean you aren’t trusting God to heal you. He often works through human systems. The fact that you feel bad having to rely temporarily on food stamps is a good indication that you’re not abusing the program.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t say that people who put others down without any knowledge of their circumstances are not acting the way Jesus would have His people act. Making this kind of indiscriminate judgment about others is something the Lord specifically prohibited (Matt. 7:1, Luke 6:37). Someone should remind the people who talk this way that the appropriate Christian response to a brother or sister in your position is to offer to help (James 2:15-16).
Ask the Lord to forgive them and then show them how wrong they were about you by sticking with your plan to get back on your feet.