Thursday, October 13, 2011

You can only help people if they want help

It's a simple statement that we all take for granted, especially when we are trying to help our fellowman, "You can only help people who want to be helped." I don't know who first said it, it was probably a person who had really helped people and saw over time that the ones who wanted help seemed more receptive to it. We don't think it's that simple here at Crosswind. Let me tell ya why.

1. When you're desperate you'll do anything for help. Very few people turn help down when they are really desperate. People will say anything, commit to anything and do anything when they feel desperate. It's only when they are a bit relieved from the urgency of their situation that you can tell if they really want help.

2. Many times the help people want isn't what they need. We see this all the time. People want help with a late bill when what they really need is to learn how to live within their means. Not being cruel either cause sometimes that's not very much. Many of our clients only have 6 or 7 hundred dollars a month and no matter how good you budget, it's hard to make it on that.

3. Most importantly, people who need help want it now and sometimes now just ain't enough time. Most people didn't 'get here overnight' as the old saying goes and the help they need isn't going to come overnight. Many people have developed over time a way of doing life that guarantees that many hurts and hangups are in their future and in their children's future. And it takes a lot of time and patience and painfully doing things different and failing and getting back up before the fruit of that change takes place. Get help quick schemes never help.

Here's where you come in as a missionary.
In case # 1 Will you help relieve the pressure on someone's life even if you find after you have they don't want help?
In case #2 will you fearlessly offer people what they need rather than a quick fix that only ensures they'll be back?
And in case #3 will you be the one who stands with someone as they change, lovingly and patiently teaching them the ways of God, picking them up when they stumble, giving them a second chance or a third?

We have come to see that the only way people change is over time as God renews their mind by His word and His grace and as they put into practice the new ways that God is showing them complete with all the surprises and hurdles and victories. We call that discipleship.

You can't do that at a block party.
You can't do that by paying a late bill.
You can't do that handing someone a gospel booklet.

You can by loving, by making friends, by staying around, by being confident in God and His gospel, by sacrifice and trial and headaches and tears. We believe that's how people change.

My guess is that you'll have to change to believe it too.


1 - read/write comments:

David Carpenter said...

Bobby, you hit the nail right on the head...
The social problem of “learned helplessness” is one I struggle with daily. When a person has “always” had a person (or program) to bail them out; spiritual, psychological and even physiological changes take place. It is a sad phenomenon. The child of a dependent person (or one who has lost their independence due to poor choices) never learns the skills or has the courage to fight against the tide of dysfunction that hits them like a raging river.
The result is a death grip onto a “care-taker” to pull them out of a whirlpool (kind of like trying to pull a drowning “panic stricken victim” out of the water, both go down). With limited resources, limited time and a desire to not reinforce “learned helplessness” so often the truly needy are neglected and the "squeakiest wheel gets ALL the grease".
We are blessed to have a town that has a heart for helping. I look at some of the communities around us and it warms my heart to see people who “want to help”…. It is just difficult for most people to know how to establish boundaries that protect the person in need as well as the person who wants to practice benevolence and Christian love. The only thing I have seen that is effective is a long relationship that begins with the power of Christ who empowers the person to take charge of their own life.
Thanks for all y'all do down there at Cross-Winds. The more I see the more I feel blessed to be brushing shoulders with you all!

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