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ss triple helix - spring 2013,  When Helping Hurts

When Helping Hurts

How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… and Yourself
Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

  • Moody, 2012 £10.00 Pb 274pp
  • ISBN 9780802457066

Who thinks Christians should help the poor? Most of us. Who has given much thought to how we should do that? Not many of us.

When Helping Hurts explores what it really means to be poor and demonstrates that churches and individual Christians often have faulty assumptions about the causes of poverty. Good intentions may result in strategies that do more harm than good. The book explains why the combination of the 'God-complex' of the rich, the inferiority complex of the poor and an over-simplistic view of poverty is an explosive combination which can cause harm and hurt in all directions. A path forward is found, not through providing resources to the poor, but by walking with them in humble relationships. The authors use case studies and stories to illustrate ways to help the poor without hurting them, and give questions at the end of each chapter.

This is the most thought provoking book I have read for some time. It has challenged my thinking about the ways we serve the poor both here and overseas. It takes a hard look at short-term mission abroad and also at Church projects at home. Although it asks some tough questions, it gives some practical and inspiring answers. Everyone interested in serving the poor should read this book – so that should mean all of us.

Vicky Lavy is CMF Head of International Ministries.

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