Skubalon
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus and count them but rubbish.

To Help the Helpless

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 Being in any kind of social related work can be difficult. As I write this I don’t exclude myself from at times being a pain to someone else but I wanted to share with you one of the hardest things I deal with in ministry.

It is the process of helping people and them not taking the help. Now that came come in various forms.

  • They take my advice but don’t carry it through.
  • They do the opposite of what I told them to do.
  • They keep coming back to me time and time again to seek the advice I just gave them.
  • They come back after not taking my advice and wonder why it all went wrong.

All of these are very painful for me to watch.

Steve Brown of KeyLife Ministries said it best…

  • Suppose your standing at the edge of a cliff and someone comes up beside you. You say, “Look over the edge. See how far down it is? See how rugged and jagged the rocks are? See how the fall would cut you and bruise you, maybe even kill you?” But they jump. A second person walks up and stands beside you. You say, “Look over the edge. See how far down it is? See how rugged and jagged the rocks are? See how the fall would cut and bruise you. See that guy down there? See how bloody and beaten he is b/c he jumped? Don’t you see the danger?” The second guy jumps anyway.

Of course as you probably picked up, on and on it goes. It grieves me to see so many with the plethora of advice and literature out there continue to make the same mistakes.

Now again remember I am just expressing my feelings here. Don’t need to point out that the failed human condition will bring about such responses in people. That being in human bodies we will never get it. That is why the grace and mercy of God is a must.

But I hope you feel my pain. And I know you do b/c any of us will have times be it with your kids, relatives or friends you will help and see them go down the tube anyway.

I will admit that as time goes on I have become stronger in this department. The only real danger when you grow as a minister is to learn to find the dividing line between caring enough to really care and attend to needs but distance oneself enough to not let the hurt in.

So I have had times when I will respond in ways that protect myself…

  • I have after several visits made sure to make an assessment to determine if I can continue to help or refer them.

I am a minister not a psychologists. Somethings are beyond me. I feel as ministers we need to be quick to see that and refer them. It saves us time and the pain of getting in over our heads.

  • I have after several sessions ended my time with them b/c I feel they are not willing to carry out the advice I am presenting.

Now I know the process of finding healing can take time. But I am referring to those who you have helped and helped and they keep coming up with lame excuses as to why they are not able to carry out the steps we have agreed upon to seek healing. I know it sounds mean but I have outright told some that we simply cannot waste each others time and energy in repeating the same things over and over. Instead I either refer them in the hopes that fresh advice will help or just simply end the time together in the hopes that they will come to their senses.

  • Don’t hang your self worth on whether or not they choose your advice. Don’t make yourself think that you have failed or you are to blame.

B/C we care so much as ministers its easy to jump off the cliff with them. We need to step back and see that if they jump you did the best you could with the time you had. You cannot let their bad choices dictate who you are and whether or not your a good minister. I have found out in ministry that 9 out of 10 times they jump. True healing does not come easy and so some would rather jump b/c it seems the easiest alternative to really seeking God and healing.

In closing I hope these thoughts help. I know it has been very painful at times to see those who could have been helped choose the wrong path. Again, I have chosen the wrong path before as well. I can’t count how many times I jumped off the cliff and by God’s mercy the fall wasn’t fatal.

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3 Responses to “To Help the Helpless”

  1. Great toughts Jason! It can also be frustrating for them to come to you for advice, and then indicate you have no idea what you are talking about. Didn’t they come to you? There are times that people just want their ego stroked, and they want you to tell them what they want to hear. It doesn’t always work that way!
    Isn’t it a blessing though, when someone does listen, and their life is changed forever? I know I am indebted to a man that I listened to several years ago!

  2. Thanks for commenting b/c it got me thinking again. A couple things bother me as well…

    1. When they are looking for some super cure all answer. I had a person recently who came to me looking for answers and when I gave them the simple answer I think they were disappointed. I think they thought I was going to give them an answer that would make all their cares go away. I think that goes along with what you said about them thinking you don’t have the right answers. Its just the answers are often not that easy. But to me many of the worlds problems are easily removed. Some not of course but many are.

    2. The other is when they come thinking that the problem is all around them. But in reality I often times start with them. I have told people that I can’t change the other person. But I can help change you and if they are not in danger in an enviorment, help them live within that life they currently have. I think sometimes they want you to say, “He/She is a loser, leave their butts.” “Your right it is their fault lets get them.” Instead I try to tell them what they need to do to be a better person.

  3. […] Part of me wonders if they noticed. I felt guilty about not stopping but after two months of turn downs I was tired of it. It was in my opinon it is an unproductive expenditure of my energy. That is not the first time I have deduced that this was the case and moved on. Part of me thinks that is not right. That we should keep working and helping them, but when they refuse to help themselves then what more can we do? I covered this in some ways in To Help the Helpless. […]


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