When Helping Hurts

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when helping hurtsMy Yahoo Finance column is out. In it, I review ways the charity work can become an impediment to personal healing and development.

It’s called: Can Helping Cause More Harm Than Good?

I use this column to share insights and wisdom from two important books: Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton and When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. Toxic Charity is the easier read of the two and draws on Lupton’s 40 years as a Christian activist in the low-income locales of Atlanta. When Helping Hurts can be read alone but is setup to be studied in church or community groups.

Both books draw many of the same conclusions. Much of American charity is doing more harm than good. And yet, both books argue that the we have an obligation to figure out what it means to serve our neighbor in need.

In the article, I reconsider one of my childhood experiences serving the poor and now regret. But I’m moving forward and so should we all.  I particularly recommend that you read Robert Lupton’s Oath for Compassionate Service which I include in the article.

Both books assert that not all situations of need require relief support:

Relief is no longer needed when individuals have the opportunity to help themselves. After the crisis has been averted, it is important to move quickly into “Rehabilitation” and “Development.” These next stages require the “helpers” to move into a partnership role and allow the “helped” to participate and plan their own recovery.

Can Helping Cause More Harm Than Good?
Matthew Illian


November 21 2013

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Matthew Illian was a Wealth Manager at Marotta Wealth Management from 2007 to 2016. He specialized in small business consulting, college planning, and retirement plans.