Of course, God forbids us to steal, so He would not support you stealing from your aging parents. If the money is offered as a gift and you intend to use it righteously, that is a different story.
Financial struggles are difficult to manage. With that being said, we are also promised in the scriptures that “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
This promise and the world’s needs can make it difficult to know how best to handle money. It becomes even more complicated when family members are involved.
How Should We Treat Our Parents?
God commanded us to honor our parents. This means doing good in their name, thanking them for what they have given you, and acting righteously towards them.
Furthermore, in Mark chapter 7, Jesus stresses how taking care of one’s parents is crucial for all. This is especially important as your parents’ age and will need extra help and assistance.
When financially able, you should provide support to your parents as they age. If you cannot offer financial aid, see if you can help with items around the house such as cooking or cleaning that may be difficult to do with an aging body.
Why Are You Taking the Money?
God considers our intentions behind our actions. It is essential to look at your intentions when taking money from your aging parents. There are two very different scenarios in which you may take money from your aging parents.
1. Your parents are aging and cannot remember things as well as they used to. You take money behind their back without telling them.
2. Your parents offer you money as a gift, and you accept it.
Taking Money Behind Your Parents’ Backs
If your parents are aging and losing some memory, they may not notice if you take some money.
However, just because they do not remember it does not mean that you received permission. Taking money without permission is considered stealing.
We are counseled multiple times in the scriptures, notably in Exodus 20:15, to avoid stealing. Furthermore, in Proverbs 12:22, we learn that “The Lord detests lying lips,” and taking money behind your parents’ backs is akin to lying. If you take money from your aging parents without their permission or knowledge, God is not OK with it.
Accepting a Gift from Your Aging Parents
God commands us throughout the scriptures to be humble. Humbly accepting a gift can be a great way to show gratitude, which we are also commanded to do throughout the Bible.
We are also commanded throughout the scriptures to give freely to those around us. If no one accepts the freely given and offered gifts, we limit their opportunity to share and be blessed for that generosity.
For those reasons, God is OK with you taking money from your aging parents if they freely offer it as a gift. You should keep in mind, however, that you should use the money righteously and prudently.
What Should You Do with the Money Your Parents Give You?
If your parents give you a financial gift, God still offers directions on treating your money righteously. Matthew 6:24 warns against the danger of treating money as an idol and worshiping it.
With that in mind, you should always consider why you are accepting a gift of money. Do you plan on using it to help your family, friends, or neighbors? Or do you plan on using it to purchase unnecessary, frivolous material possessions that may make you more popular? If you still want to accept the gift but do not require it, you can donate the money to a worthy charity.
When given a financial gift or any increase, you should also remember that He owns everything as God directs in Exodus. Everything you gain comes from Him and will return to Him. It does not come from your power and to serve your praise.
Throughout the scriptures, we are regularly commanded to care for the poor, sick, and needy. It is always righteous and wise to use your excess money to help those less fortunate than you are.
Furthermore, a gift given to you to help you pay off debt can be a righteous way to spend the money. In Ecclesiastes 5:4, the Lord cautions against collecting unnecessary debt and advises us to pay back the owed money quickly. For these reasons, using a monetary gift from your aging parents to pay off debt can be a moral choice.
In Luke 14, the Lord shares a parable about planning when beginning projects such as building a tower or house. This can be important whenever you look at an option for how to spend your money.
Consider before beginning the expense how long it will take, how much it will cost, and if you can afford it. It would help if you also considered the effect of that expenditure on those around you. We should always seek to bring more kindness into the world, and wise purchases are no exception to this rule.
Always seek to use your money wisely as the Lord has commanded.
Image Credit: Robert Kneschke