When Helping Hurts

Friday, September 20, 2013

Doing a little re-reading recently. Did not plan on blogging, but this just lit a fire and I had to share. 

I sat in a college class on poverty several years ago & suggested that poverty was more than dirty children with failing grades and poor social skills often living in single parent and often broken homes. Those, while often true, are sterotypes of a much bigger problem. 

I argued that those were symptoms of emotional bankrupt people stuck in generational bondage with no fathomable hope of ever being different. 

Except for one other teacher in the room, (who happens to be an amazing Christian and not easily intimidated soul) a room full of teachers who had been at it way longer than me stared blankly and looked as if they were wondering why we would even challenge the professor or the ideology of who poverty students and people were. Why? (Insert nervous doodlers and crossed arms here.)

This was long before I ever heard of this book, but after only three years of teaching, I had truly gotten to know every single student that had entered my door, some more than others of course, but if anyone knew them, it was me. It was not easy, it took me moving through alot of fear and alot of pride to allow myself to be humble enough to be approachable. It took enduring some nasty insults and being there time after time with an open heart and open door. It took a ton of prayers and an ocean of tears. It took the most amazing woman and co teacher to navigate me out of satans lies about me and into the vast truths of my capability and calling to get me brave enough to fight this battle with them. I lost friends, a boyfriend, and God challenged unapologetically every fiber of my being. My calling began to take life and I knew it was the most important thing. I had to be brave enough to leave comfort for what He was working in me. I knew if I didn't have a relationship with them, I could chalk up ever influencing them for any good. 

My kids specifically were highschool kids who were beyond beatendown and  emotionally bankrupt, labeled special ed and stuck in a self contained classroom that felt worse than prison to them. It was their hell. They were labeled. Talk about walls built for protection... The sad thing was, had they had someone truly invest properly in them long ago, the majority would not be there. They were not dumb. They were emotionally in poverty so deep they could not see out.

Do you know how hard you have to be, to be of completely sound mind, and pull into school on a short yellow bus? 

I hate every bit of it. It makes my stomach turn to know what these kids endure. They were in poverty, far beyond any material classification.

 In fact, they USE MATERIAL THINGS to cover up emotional bankruptcy... Sound familiar?? That one hit close to home for a lot of people. We are all so much alike than we are different! 

I can not read or recommend this book enough times... "When Helping Hurts" gives so much l knowledge into poverty, the ways in which we do harm and hood and how people in poverty view its definition vs our first world view. 

The way Americans view poverty is so incomplete and quite frankly shallow... We must stop just writing checks and be willing to "spend" ourselves on the oppressed... 

It's relational people... Material poverty is simply a symptom.... As long as you hoard yourselves and your emotions and your GOD given gift of relationship, your $ does little good and often hurts more than it helps. We are called to die to all that, to love our neighbors, to spend ourselves, not our only money but ourselves. 

It is messy. 
It hurts.
It often does not ever look like you want it to. 
It surely does not look like what society, or your family or your suburban neighbors think it should look. 
It wrecks your American dream.
It changes ever fiber of your being. 
It dissolves friendships that are surface level at best. 
It creates inside you a righteous anger and a unfailing desire to let justice roll.

But oh how it blesses. 

Spending yourself and the talents GOD gave you to bring Him glory can not be touched by any other experience on this side of heaven. Because when you are spending yourself, HE is the recipient and He turns right around and pays us back with so much grace and love and Mercy and sustainment that we can not help but spend more of it back on his children. When you go the places God wants you, you meet Him there. That is a place that pales in comparison to anything else this world could give. 

We have to be willing to identify that we are all broken and impoverished in some way, shape or form. We must get off of our proverbial thrones and meet people face to face, human being to human being, sinner to sinner, lost and broken and hopeless without the blood of Jesus. We must stop ASSUMING that because we have material things we are less impoverished than anyone else. We must realize and remember that we are ALL created in the image of God, THEREFORE we all have purpose and meaning and a place at the table. God has His hands on everyone of us. We each have a purpose in his kingdom, the poor included. 

We have to stop and honestly and truthfully work to RELATE to one another in way that levels the playing field and stops sizing up one another's sin and need. We are good at that if we are truly honest with ourselves... We must open our arms to the differences among us in order to ignite the flames within us as people and communities and cities and nations. 

We must stop assuming that money and things are the cure all. If that were the case, we'd have no need for the cross. 

We must go back there, where the blood of the holy and perfect son of God is dripping. And with every drop that falls redemption for one more flows out. We must take ourselves back there, to that place where redemption lives and remember that our ransom was not paid through money, but through our relationship with the ultimate healer, and we must choose to die to ourselves, our desires, our assumptions and get back to the art of being the relational people God created us to be from the very beginning. Then and only then will we even come close to restoring what has been long devastated and live a little more here, as it is in heaven...

Love and blessings, go be the change!!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground