I have mentioned this philosophy in a couple of blogs of “helping without hurting”. I wanted to share a little more about it.
One person on a recent mission trip came back and reported the locals despised the Americans who came to build them a church. Instead of working with the locals they took over and sure enough built a church building in one week. So why were the locals upset? Because the week the Americans were there, they were unemployed. This is a great example of “help that hurts.”
There is a way of helping without hurting, but first you should understand some principles.
- Recognize that we are all poor. When Adam and Eve sinned mankind fell out with God, with each other, with themselves, and with their world. We all became poor.
- We in America, a lot of times, will describe poverty as not having material possessions. Someone in real poverty will likely describe poverty as embarrassing, failure, shame, and hopelessness.
- Know that we here in America are not superior to anyone else. Wealth is not measured in the things you own (or paying the bank for each month). Not in the size of your house or the cost of your car. True wealth is measured in the strength of your relationships with God, yourself, others, and with your world.
- You can actually make someone feel worse when you give them, or someone in their household something they cannot provide themselves.
- You help someone else by building a relationship with them. Once that is established you can encourage them, show you believe in them. This gives them hope, and self-esteem. This will help give them the confidence they need to find their own way out of poverty. Jesus modeled this for us. He didn’t come to give material things to people, but instead He said things like “I came to you”, “I accept you” which are relationship building words.
If you want to get your hands on the same resources I am learning from you can go to: https://www.chalmers.org/
When you begin to understand what real poverty is you will begin to see it everywhere, and not just think of poverty as something in 3rd world countries. It is time we start helping without hurting.