When Helping Hurts

Posted on April 27, 2016 at 11:17 am by heatherscherer No Comment

I’m reading the book “When Helping Hurts” that my mother has been quoting to me for a couple of years.  I felt like I knew most of the wisdom from the book because she was so excited about it.  (My mother runs a food pantry at my home church in Okmulgee.) But I wanted to share one of the most important things that I have learned from her and the book.

One of the most striking concepts was this understanding of the poverty of the soul. ( I recommend that you listen to a sermon given by my friend Rev. Charla Gwartney at faithtulsa.org.  She explains this concept very well.)  So often middle to upper class people want to help with poverty and think that if “those people” just had all the junk we had that they might be happy.  The reality is that the rates of suicide and depression for those who are middle to upper class economically are higher then ever.  People with lots of money and lots of things are not any happier than people without a lot of things.  And sometimes when we give people what we think they need or want, then we do more damage then good.

Our new ministry, the church Thrift Store, is a wonderful example of a good way to help.  We have been encouraged to raise our prices but the money isn’t the point of the ministry.  We give people the opportunity to chose things for themselves and provide for themselves and their loved ones.  They leave with self-respect and pride and a sense of wholeness in their soul that handing them free things could never provide.  You see, taking things or even asking for help can produce shame.  We also treat every customer the same- as valuable people of worth.  No one leaves the store feeling less then they came in.  And our volunteers have loved meeting the people, hearing their stories and learning about their lives.  We have prayed with people, cried with people and been inspired by people.  It is a beautiful ministry and a blessing to the community.  I hope you have time to see if for yourself sometime!

Rev. HeatherFacebooktwitterby feather

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