Helping people is hard to do. Before you even start, it takes a lot of maturity to actually want to help people in need, because it means taking something that you have (whether money, time, resources, energy, whatever) and giving it to someone else who needs it. But then it’s even hard to know how to help: you don’t want to help out the “wrong” way, and you certainly don’t want to make things worse. So what do you do?
The easy approach to helping people in need is just to throw money at the problem. But that seldom actually helps. The most important thing is to adjust your outlook, and then everything else will fall into place. (In other words, seek first the kingdom of God, and all the rest will be added for you. Matt. 6:33)
Here’s an excerpt from an article that can help us improve our thinking:
Part of the problem is how we think and talk about the poor—specifically, how we keep calling them “the poor.” By doing so we define them as “not-us.” They are the “other” and we are the “us”, they are “the poor” and we are the “not-poor”. However you define those people who are part of your “us,” we always take care of “us”. My wife is part of my “us”, as are my children. I can’t imagine putting a limit on how much I am willing to come to the aid of any of them. If they need me, I’m there. Not so for anyone who is not a part of my “us”…. While most of us are willing to help someone who is not part of our “us”, there is a limit. There is a limit to how much we feel obligated to help someone who is “other” that does not exist when it comes to our “us”.
So as long as we keep thinking of everybody else as “others,” then it’s easy to write them off. If they’re “others,” then they’re not “us.” But Jesus wants us to see everyone as part of “us.” He said that when you feed someone who’s hungry, clothe someone who’s cold, or visit someone in prison, you’re not doing it for an “other,” you’re doing it for him, for the Lord (Matt 25:34-40).
So we have to ask ourselves: do we want to be with Jesus, a part of the body of Christ? If so, then that means we’re connected to all those “others,” and we all become an “us” together.
The next time you see someone in need, remember that in the kingdom of God, no one is an “other”; everyone is part of “us,” and we are all in need.