Sarah Binos is the Executive Director of the Common Ground church initiative and non-profit known as ‘Common Good’ – she wrote this article ‘4 Common giving mistakes I’ve made’ on the Common Good blog page and you should totally go and read the full article, but here are some excerpts which stood out for me.
Instead of giving you a blueprint for giving – because there isn’t one! – here are some of the mistakes I’ve made in the area of giving. Hopefully this will equip others not to do the same!
I haven’t prioritised building relationships enough as I try to live out Christ’s call to do justice
My friend explained how much it would have meant if her donor had been more like a distant aunt – who checked in with her occasionally and saw her as a person with hopes and dreams as opposed to a project.
In my attempt to “fix things”, I’ve communicated that “I am the adult and you are the child”
Instead of engaging, asking insightful questions and giving the person I hope to bless the space to process and think through a way forward, I present a quick solution with a whole lot of uninvited advice. This can communicate the idea that I’m wiser, and that I know how to solve your problem better than you do.
I have not listened and empathised enough
In our haste, we bypass the process of listening, understanding, and identifying with those in need, and instead jump straight to giving something that will hopefully fix the problem.
At times I have perpetuated cycles of dependency and bad habits
Sometimes, the most loving thing we can do is to NOT give.
That is just a sneak peek overview of the article and I encourage you to take a read of the whole thing and share with us your impressions.
Are there any ways you have noticed some of these or maybe even other tendencies in your own giving to have had a less than desired effect?
Are there any questions you ask yourself when a giving opportunity arises to help you figure out the best way to give?
Sarah nails it in this last line that reminds us that a quick give is almost always easier than the decision to journey alongside and yet seldom as significant:
Giving something material is often the easy way to help. Giving in a way that will move people from relief to development is much harder and more sacrificial.
[Read more about what Common Good is doing locally to be agents of social justice in their immediate surroundings and also in the lives and minds of the people who attend the local church they are affiliated with over here.]
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