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Charity begins at home

Posted by ESC on June 28, 2008 at 19:19

In Reply to: Charity begins at home posted by ESC on June 28, 2008 at 16:04:

: : What does it mean by 'charity begins at home'?

To me it means take care of family and nearby neighbors before widening your circle of charity. Don't ignore needs of those close to you in favor of the needs of people who are far away.

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME -- "One's own family (or country, etc.) comes before any other responsibilities. The idea of the proverb can be found in the Bible. The proverb dates back to the time of the Roman comic playwright Terence (about 190-159 BC). In 1383, John Wycliffe wrote: 'Charity should begin at himself.' Five hundred years later Dickens said that 'Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.' First attested in the United States in the 'Winthrop Papers' .'." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

Another reference cites the Muslim Sunnah (c. 800): "A man's first charity should be to his own family, if poor." "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993). Page 30.