How do we help the poor? This is a question we struggle with throughout our lives. The financially poor and emotionally poor are in a place where they lack resources to better their situation whether externally or internally. How do we help?
Let me tell you why I do not have the answer. I do not have THE answer because there is not just one answer. We are in search of a solution yet the solution is different for the various individuals, groups, communities, and societies we encounter. We are looking for a 'macro' answer but we are individuals, we are people; we must keep this on a 'micro' level. If we begin to generalize we begin to act in ways that may not truly help and remain surface level. We try to get rid of the results of poverty rather than look to address the root of the problem.
When we encounter others we must come as a servant rather than a savior. We do not have the answers. The answers lie within the culture, the individuality, the community. When we come as a 'savior' we approach others with the belief that our way is superior or better. We push our beliefs and ideas upon others and assume that under different circumstances they will have the same effect. What if our way isn't the best way for everyone? Maybe circumstantially it won't work as it did for us personally.
So how do we make a difference? ... Meet people where they are at but don't leave them there.
When we choose to meet people where they are at and understand their culture we can learn about the inner workings of their society. We can become informed of the problems and the fears of the community. We have the opportunity to hear stories and see others in their natural environment and first hand experience their culture. This brings with it understanding and respect. We can then see that our lives are different and that our solutions back at home may need to be altered to fit the needs of others within their own homes.
It is very important to meet others where they are at because we accept them as who they are. That step brings with it respect and relationship. With relationships, we have the opportunity to make a lasting impact rather than meet needs with short- term answers. That brings me to the next point- do not leave them there. Do not leave them there. Help them grow where they are from. If you understand where their roots are you can help foster growth. With an understanding of one's past and current circumstances as well as values, morals, and dreams, we have the power to create lasting change. Not a change that allows an individual to be safe for the night, but a change that makes one feel as though they can make it on their own.
We must come as servants. Working from the bottom up; getting down on our hands and knees to firsthand experience the situations of those around us.
We must come as servants; servants inspired by our savior.