It seems to me that many charitable organizations act as a crutch for people who act irresponsibly, whether their problem is drugs and alcohol — or in your case, poorly managed finances. Why shouldn't I just expect people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?
Allow me to respond to your question by referring to the counseling work I have done, as the principles would apply to the work of other charitable organizations as well. While most who hear about our work are appreciative of our efforts to bring financial stability to individuals and families, I periodically receive comments like yours. Here is an example of one letter I received from an anonymous reader. Readers shouldn't be surprised by the negative tone of the letter. I realized a few years ago, much to my chagrin, that letters like this come with the territory.
“To Whom It May Concern: This is the dumbest organization I have ever heard of! These people got themselves into debt, they can get themselves out. They had no business using plastic credit cards to buy everything in sight knowing they could not afford it! I don't own plastic cards for that reason and, with the free will that our Lord gave me, don't buy what I can live without — boats, large TVs (big screens), going to movies that aren't worth wasting your eyesight on, etc. Get the picture?”
I believe I do get the picture. And, while I can understand what the writer is saying, it seems to me she is missing the bigger picture. Individuals and families come to me for counseling on a wide variety of situations. Some are looking for fulfillment in things, and go on spending binges in the hopes of finding happiness. Many others struggle with the basic disciplines needed to create a financial plan and live on a budget. Not a few others find themselves needing a little encouragement as they strive to raise a godly family with a parent at home full-time and, thus, only one income.
Because the root issue in each of these situations is different, I find myself being many things to many people. To the wild spender, I become a spiritual adviser and speak about the emptiness of a life focused on things while sharing the importance of entering into a deeper relationship with God. To the person who lacks discipline, I provide basic tools and stress God's call for us to be good stewards. And, for the faithful families out there struggling to live on one income, I am a cheerleader as we look for creative ways to manage a tight budget.
To suggest that we should withhold help from folks who aren't good stewards is to say that we're not our brother's keeper. But the fact is, we are called to be precisely that (see Genesis 4:9). The beautiful story of the prodigal son should be a reminder, not only of the immense love God has for each one of us, but also the responsibility we have to bring that same love to others. One way this is accomplished is through the apostolic works of charitable organizations. I would encourage you to participate in some way with charitable organizations that are making a difference in the world. God love you!
Phil Lenahan of Catholic Answers welcomes questions at email@example.com.