Relative asks for money all the time...but she tithes every month

I have a close relative who is always bugging me for sizable amounts of money. Quite frankly, her hounding me for money all the time has severely hampered our relationship. Interestingly, I recently found out that she tithes more than the amount she asks me for every month. When I confronted her about that and explained that she is too poor to tithe right now because she can barely support herself, she made it appear as if I am evil for trying to get her to stop tithing. She gets most of her money from government benefits every month.

Long story short, I made it clear that I refuse to help her financially moving forward since she’s actually giving money away when she can barely support herself.

Did I do the right thing in your opinion? How would you have handled this situation?

The same way if a relative was spending money on beer and cigs and always broke. Their spending priorities need evaluating. Hopefully not-enabling them will start this process rolling.

I probably wouldn’t have brought up the tithing thing, since people who tithe while claiming poverty are not easily reasoned with.

But no, you aren’t wrong for telling her the faucet has been shut off.

If you don’t mind sharing, how did you find out how much she’s been tithing? Could it be that she responded the way she did because she was shocked her business was out in the streets?

You definitely did the right thing. Otherwise, in essence *you *are the one tithing.

Tell her to ask her church for help.


She volunteered this information to me. And this is after her asking for money for quite a while now with the narrative that she can barely keep her head above water and she needs my money urgently. I don’t even bring her or her issues up in public.

It sounds to me like she needs budgeting help, not just cash infusions. Tell her to bring in her paychecks and her bills and expenses, and you’ll help her find where she can cut expenses. I bet that she won’t bug you about money any more.

You did the right thing. If she asks again, I’d tell her I like to choose what charities to support for myself and give to them directly, with no need for her to act as an intermediary.

Did you really expect any responses telling you that you’re obligated to keep giving your mooching relative money so that she can give it away? I doubt even the church she’s giving the money to would be comfortable with that arrangement if they knew about it.

True, it does seem like a superobvious question.

The church I plan on running will frankly encourage that sort of thing. :smiley:

Hmm, I am not a Catholic but I thought you were supposed to tithe a percentage of your income. Someone living off government benefits shouldn’t feel obligatedto tithe. She is a little on the nutty side obviously.

Very likely it’s BS.

Here’s a suggestion (i.e. how I would have been inclined to handle the situation): Tell her you want to have a meeting with her pastor so that you can discuss these issues and try to figure out a workable solution.

Most likely she will decline since she doesn’t want her lie to come out. Every time she asks you for money, you tell her that first you want her to set up that meeting with the pastor. Eventually she will stop asking you for money.

If by some chance you do have the meeting with the pastor, there’s a pretty good chance that the pastor will be reasonable and explain that she should not tithe if it means she must ask for money from relatives. Then you can tell your relative she can stop tithing and so she doesn’t need money from you anymore.

If the pastor is a jerk and insists that she should tithe, you are no worse off than you are now. But I think it’s pretty unlikely you will get to that point.

Is the tithing part of a prosperity theology thing? - I ask because it will probably make a difference to how the whole thing plays out.

Lots of religious people make regular donations to their churches or other organisations - and whilst that may be regarded as pointless or wrong, it’s pretty normal, and may be amenable to self-regulation - sharing what you have, when you have it, and being a responsible steward of your resources when things are tight.

Tithing related to prosperity theology, on the other hand, is pretty much designed to be destructive to the donor - because it comprises a set of embedded ethics including:[ul]
[li]God wants to (or in some versions, is obliged to) make you fabulously wealthy, if you just follow a simple formula[/li][li]You have to ‘give until it hurts’ - if you aren’t giving more than your budget says you can afford, you’re not taking it seriously enough[/li][li]If you don’t reap enormous returns on your tithes, it’s because you did something wrong - maybe you had the wrong motives, or your faith wavered (this generates shame that means people don’t talk about all the times it failed - and this results in confirmation bias - you hear success stories, not failures, so it must work)[/li][li]Anything that represents an obstacle to your tithing (be it personal financial circumstances, or a dissuading friend) is a test of your faith - and is to be resisted[/li][/ul]

Thus, people get trapped in this cycle where it never quite works, but they can’t accept that it doesn’t work - and have invested so much in it that they can’t seem to do anything other than continue to throw good money after bad. (Of course it works quite well for the people preaching it, while the basket is being passed around)

Catholics generally don’t tithe. Its more of a generic protestant thing (though I have heard of RCC congregations that do tithe). Mormons also tithe.

It flat out says in the Bible that people should not donate to charity if they can’t pay their own bills.

You know what? It might not be. I know someone who’s caught up in a similar situation. What happens is his brother’s ex-wife asks the brother for extra money (above the child support ) . He gives it to her, and then asks his mother for money. She gives it to him and then asks my friend for money. He gives it to her and then must cut back on his own spending. **Sigma’s ** ahead of my friend- he looks at us like we’re crazy when we tell him to cut out the middle men and just give the cash to the ex.

I am going to dissent a little. Giving money to someone doesn’t give you the right to decide how they spend it. Now, it’s perfectly fine to stop giving her money. You certainly shouldn’t give her money if you don’t want to. But you shouldn’t give her money and then complain about how it gets spent: either give it as a free gift, or don’t give it at all.

And frankly, if she’s tithing a token amount–like 1% of her income–I can understand that. It makes her feel good, makes her feel like she’s part of the community, makes her not feel ashamed all the time. There are stupider reasons to spend a little money.

I mean, if you came here and said “I have a friend that I give money to regularly. It recently came to my attention that she spends $5 each week on fresh carnations at the grocery store. This really offend me, and I told her to cut it out because I wasn’t giving her money to just literally throw in the trash each week”, you’d be getting chewed out. Being poor, even being a charity case, doesn’t mean you can’t have any indulgences at all.

On the other hand, if she’s tithing 10%, that’s very different. That’s not a mild indulgence.


She doesn’t even go to a church. She most likely gives 10% of her money to Joyce Meyers Ministries. She has mentioned this organization repeatedly in the past and even showed me a detailed booklet about it and all it does one time. She has countless CDs and books put out by Joyce Meyers. I didn’t know she was giving 10% of her money to this organization all this time even though she was acting like she was totally broke.

Manda JO,

She tithes 10% of her monthly government assistance…most likely to Joyce Meyers Ministries.

I’d cut her off at the source.

“You’ve been getting your income from the Government and from me. But then you turn around and give a big chunk of it away. More than what you get from me. So it seems like you don’t actually NEED the money you’re getting from me, you just like being able to tithe a lot. So from now on, I’m not giving you any more money. You clearly don’t need it and you aren’t using it for your needs.”

“Waaahhh! You just want to stop me from tithing!”
“No, I only want to give money to people who need it. You Don’t. And I don’t appreciate you tithing with MY money.”

I agree with **monstro **that she probably can’t be reasoned with. Just saying no gives her less to argue with. She won’t accept it at first but she’ll get the idea eventually if you never give in.