Like "Let me introduce to you what is called the Jewish eight levels of giving. As the Wikipedia article says, it's more of a religious obligation for living a faithful life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzedakah That I took a look at quotes Jesus supposedly said about judging and there are so many wonderful ones. The one that applies to our conversation best however come from Proverbs 31:9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy http://www.openbible.info/topics/judging_others I do love your story of growing up. It's the same thing I heard my father and grandfather, one who built the family and another who grew up in that family in the depression. My father was kind, charitable but he was also racist, misogynist and he made up stories to justify something this head about poor people. For example, it wasn't until one Reagan started talking about the welfare queen (a thoroughly disproven myth) did he start talking about all the poor people with Cadillacs he saw at food distribution centers (he had the contract to deliver USDA food products to various places in our town.) I worked for him, I went to the sites, I saw nothing like that. I saw poor people hungry afraid, ashamed of even having to ask for help. This is when I started questioning the validity of the concept of the "truly poor/needy" in other, quite frankly racist judging's of people in need. I said racist because in my family the truly needy worthy poor white people they came to church and took our scraps and leftover clothes and were grateful for it. Whereas the poor black people who kept to themselves were obviously lazy, drug users and engaging in other types of sinning. Today we engage frequently in the same type of judging except it's not as common to blame it on skin color but on the kind of food you shove in your face. Even that phrase I just choose, "shove in your face" implies sloth and greediness, two of some people's favorite deadly sins. Personally I prefer lust. It's a lot more fun... I went through a periosd in my life when I was near homeless. Combination of illness, divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Even when I had very little of my own, I would still give a quarter, $.50, a dollar if someone was begging because it might make their life a little better. In food pantries I had to listen to people making comments about people coming in wearing good quality work close and driving new cars. The reality is the people with the good close a new cars are looking just as scared if not more so than the other people. The reason they wore what they did and drove what they did was because that's all they had left. It made no sense to sell them off because they would only get pennies on the dollar (as I found out when I tried to sell my furniture) and at least they had a reliable car to drive to job interviews and good clothing for interviewing in. Oh there was so much judging both internal and external from various people I met. The internal judging kept people from moving forward. The external judging made them question their decisions, good rational jobhunting decisions which also hampered them. The most common judging in this world usually takes the form of "why don't they just get any job". The answers multi fold but the three most important are: most employers don't want you to take time off to look for another job, they want to get their work done, a lower paying job significantly decreases your salary when you reenter the field you are in, and many times you are worse off in a lower paying job because you no longer have health insurance that you were getting at a subsidized rate when you are unemployed. Very long-term unemployment support paid off in two ways. Every dollar spent on unemployment generated $1.6 of economic activity. So even if people were working, there was still some growth for business and it would stop economic retraction. The second is it allowed the vast majority of people that back into the workplace as salaries near what they were making before. The current skinflint approach is having the side effect of increasing the number of disability claims in the older working population because they've are tired of being judged as being unsuitable and not on their abilities. Your stories of doing "right things", being responsible are great. They are true but only so far. The reason people did much much better in the 50s and 60s is because they had unions. Because the tax code encouraged the extremely well off (i.e. 10% or even 1%) to use their money in different ways which benefited everyone. Many people in upper echelons of management practiced "stakeholder capitalism" which assumes the benefits of a corporation should be bestowed upon all of the stakeholders, employees, community, in addition to shareholders. It is no coincidence that economic growth for the middle class has slowed to a crawl with the loss of unions, ability for companies to underfund pension plan or even eliminate pension plans, and the reduction in higher income bracket taxes. I converted to Buddhism from Christianity many years ago for reasons that are not important here. I remember asking one teacher about meditation practice about why it is so hard to keep going and what you do when you find yourself stopping. I was told that's hard because you are seeing yourself judging others every moment of the day and once you are aware of that, shame interrupts and takes over your thinking because now you're judging yourself. The hardest thing he ever asked me to do was to let go of judging myself. Which is what I asked about stopping. He said then you start again. No judging you just start again. For what it's worth, my current weak spots on judging our corporations and libertarians. Both bad in math, both not acting in the best interests of the vast majority of the people. With poor people, I don't care how they got there I don't care what the troubles are. You help them. You give him the tools to make the right choices (healthcare, birth control, ability to say no to bad choices, safe living space. If they fail, if they fall back, then you start over. You do it as many times as you can over and over. You keep shaping the environment to give them room to make better choices. Most importantly, you eliminate the barriers in their environment that keeps them from making better choices. One such barrier is law enforcement policies which rewards law enforcement for convictions over accurate determination of guilt or innocence. This policy leads to significant numbers of minority men in jail which leads to a lack of stable family formation, a lack of suitable partners for minority women especially those who been to college. In turn leads to a lower level of economic mobility and restarts the cycle again with children growing up in environments where being in jail is seen as a right of manhood. you can break the cycle starting with heavily subsidized birth control especially for younger potential parents, letting jail be a place of rehabilitation and encouraging people to practice highest level of Tzedakah charity by taking the people who have paid their debt to society into their lives and help them become productive excepted citizens and not isolate them into a ghetto and judge them as being less worthy. And if you think that they should have not committed the crime in the first place, try googling plea-bargaining abuse. You be amazed how much of our justice system is actually a reward system for furthering political aims of prosecutors. So yeah, I advocate for the poor,, I point out mythology and offer alternatives that seem to be based in fact as far as I can research. I do not defend the rich because I will never be rich, because 99.9% of us will never be rich no matter what lies we are told by people in power. "