Once I become more deeply involved in helping people I have discovered these do’s and don’ts to be helpful and I hope they can help you too. These principles are especially helpful when we are involved helping family members and those we already know and have a relationship with as well. Creating boundaries for us with loved ones is extra challenging because we might have to undo some of what we have done.
- Never do for someone what they can do for themselves. It’s ok to do something with someone, but not “for” them. It’s degrading to make a phone call for someone for example when they’re perfectly able to do that on their own. It’s also degrading to treat people like they cannot do anything.
- Always deepen their community and yours. I’ve learned that many people who beg have no positive community in their lives. Most don’t even know any successful people so they are operating out of what they know. When someone approaches us it’s an opportunity to learn from that person’s life and to help connect them to a positive group that can empower them to make progress.
- Get rid of your “God Complex.” A God complex is a paternalistic attitude that I know it all and I’m here to teach and lead this person in the way I think is right for them. The Bible is clear that we are no better than the person asking us for money. If in my mind I’m thinking I’m better than this person or if I think I have great skills and I can tell this person what to do, I’ve ruined any chance of having a transformational relationship with them. If I’m thinking about them in a degrading way and I need to repent of this attitude. I can learn from this person’s story and share my own story with them and God can do amazing things when I humble myself and love someone I just met.
- Realize we are all lacking. I have things I lack too. The richest person in the world still has issues in their life. We all lack something and we all have weaknesses. Share what you’re lacking with a person experiencing financial poverty and you might discover that person can help you in your own weaknesses whether it be that you lack forgiveness, good health, intimacy or any other thing. God has a way of connecting us all together towards healing.
- Beware of “feelings.” Many have shared with me how good they feel while on a mission trip that they are helping someone or doing something significant. This is a self-serving, narcissistic reason to go on mission or help someone. Sometimes the very thing we feel like doing is the thing that can cause the most damage to someone else. As Christians we go on mission to serve people so we can share the Gospel message, not so we can “feel good” about ourselves. That would be in essence using people so we can have a good feeling.
In part three I’ll share a wonderful strategy we have utilized to help people who consider themselves at rock bottom. This is a long process but it can work! Stay tuned for Part 3!
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