How to help without hurting

“How do I help someone without accidentally causing hurt in the process?”  

This is a question that every person seeking to help others should ask, and we want to take time to think through it. To consider how to help without hurting, we need to first back up and consider how God created us.  

There are four key relationships that every person experiences in life, whether we are consciously aware of them or not:  

  • Relationship with self 
  • Relationship with others 
  • Relationship with God 
  • Relationship with the rest of creation.  

We all experience brokenness in each of these relationships, which affect the others, as well. When my relationship with self is broken, I may be insecure, proud, or even both at the same time! When my relationship with others is broken, I may be selfish, rude, or codependent. My relationship with God might be nonexistent, or I might expect him to be my personal genie as I demand everything I want. Finally, my relationship with the rest of creation includes everything from work and finances to animals and the weather! Truly, there are endless ways that each of these relationships can be – and are – broken.  

Jesus came to bring us wholeness. He came to bring restoration in each of these relationships that can only be found in him. As we surrender our lives to Jesus, we begin to experience the relationships that we were created to have. My relationship with myself changes as I understand that I am made in God’s image with certain qualities and characteristics, and that what he says about me matters more than anything else. My relationship with others changes as I learn to be selfless, humble, and courageous. My relationship with God changes as I see myself as his child and learn to listen and obey. And, finally, my relationship with the rest of creation changes as I learn to see work as good, finances as a gift to be used wisely and carefully, and everything around me as part of the good (albeit broken by sin) world that God made. 

So how, you may be asking, does this relate to how we love and help others in need?  

As we learn to recognize others as being made in God’s image, we see that we need to treat them with dignity and respect, helping them to find their identities in God. When I understand that my neighbor was also created to have healthy relationships in these four areas, I am ready to help her find work that allows her to care for her family in a dignifying way. When I see that my friend needs help managing his money, I understand that his need goes deeper than just learning how to balance debts and savings on paper, but also to understanding that finances are a gift to be stewarded in God-honoring ways. 

As you walk through this journey in Link2Hope with an individual or family, we encourage you to consider in each step whether you are helping or hurting them in learning to repair these relationships and become the people God has called them to be. Are you helping them grow in dignity as fellow image-bearers or taking away their opportunities to do so themselves? How can you help them think through each of these four key relationships and grow in each one?  

None of us will get this right 100% of the time, but we seek to always be learning and growing. We encourage you to join us at an ally training, where we will go deeper into these concepts and learn more about how God has created each of us and how to walk alongside one another in wholeness and healing through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus came to bring us wholeness in the four key relationships: God, self, others, and the rest of creation.