A friend I highly respect, Dr. Chuck Lynch of Living Foundation Ministries (Blue Springs, MO), has written and spoken on the subject of people helping. As a Biblical counselor and counseling instructor, he has often delivered a presentation titled, “Where Does God Find Caring People Helpers?”
Hearing this presentation, I felt as if Dr. Lynch shattered three major myths most Christians erroneously adopt. The truths regarding these myths are generally supported by research data that affirms that most counseling, i.e. people helping, is through friendships, through casual interactions, and loving relationships.
Three Myths of Care Giving: Dr. Lynch shared these simple statements: 1) The first myth is that we must have our own lives ordered and without problems. 2) The second myth of care giving is that we must have formal training or education in order to be effective. 3) The belief that “we should never use our own life and faith stories” to help others is the third myth.
Three Truths of Care Giving: The three truths of “people helping” are:
1) Caring people helpers are working through their own personal problems and needs while helping others. As in the lives of Moses, Gideon, and Peter, these men had their own personal problems in the midst of being greatly used by God.
2. Caring people helpers usually have no prior formal training but only a willingness to learn and to be used by God. Care-giving occurs most frequently and most effectively through caring friends who personally know the person’s family, work situation, and relationships.
3. A caring people helper has a willingness to learn to illustrate with his/her own life how God’s Word works in precept and in practice. Effectively illustrating Christ’s impact on our own lives helps us to “show and tell” others how to transform Biblical truth into daily living.
From the New Testament writings of Paul, (Galatians 6:2) we are encouraged to be “bearing each others burdens.” Understanding the three myths and three truths of people helping guides our thinking towards the positive value of friendships, accountability groups, affinity groups and even spiritual growth groups. There is supporting evidence that all of these types of groups support mental health, spiritual growth and holistic living. There’s life change, care giving and growth that occurs when we interact with one another. and the life-changing care-giving that occurs.
Don’t get trapped in the myths of care giving, but let God use you in spite of your weaknesses and failures. Do so with not only strengthen another person, but you will be empowered as well. When we focus on others and their needs – becoming the care giving, others-focused, grace and love oriented people God intended us to be – then we will become more and more the people who bear one another’s burdens” and so fulfil the law of Jesus Christ. God may impact your life through someone else or maybe God wants to use you to help a new-found friend! Christianity is practiced in “community” and where true people helping really occurs!