Principles for Helpers

In his book Toxic Charity, Robert Lupton gives his version of the Hippocratic Oath for people involved in mercy ministry. I thought I could jot down some of my own from the gut convictions.

1. I will not act as if doing were more important than believing.

2. I will not act as if there is such a thing as truly believing that doesn’t lead to actually doing.

3. I will remember that trying to help someone else can be spiritually dangerous for them and myself.

4. I will not start thinking that I am God and I will not allow anyone to treat me as if I were a god simply because I have more resources than they do.

5. I will not act as if suffering weren’t a serious problem.

6. I will not act as if God cannot use suffering to accomplish good purposes.

7. I will remember that loving a person is more important than simply giving resources.

8. I will not forget that speaking truth can be an act of incredible mercy and is often the most important way to show mercy to someone else.

9. I will not treat someone as if they were more of a sinner or less of a sinner than I am simply because of their financial status.

10. I won’t act as if people’s most significant problems were only physical.

11. I won’t act as if people’s physical problems were not significant.

12. I will not use mercy as a means to glorify myself or as an attempt to earn favor with God.

13. I will not find my identity first in being an helper, but instead in being a child of God.

14. I will not believe that simply having more money necessarily makes life better or someone’s opinion more important.

15. I will not forget that one minute in heaven is better than a million years of prosperity here on earth and one minute in hell is worse than a million years of the worst suffering here on earth.

16. I will not try to be anyone’s Savior.

17. I will seek to carry people’s burdens along with them, but not so much, for them. It isn’t good for them and it isn’t possible for me.

18. I won’t treat someone who is asking for help like I was saved by my works.

19. I will remember my own need as I seek to help someone in need, and as I seek to help I will ask God to use the person I am seeking to help, to actually help me in the areas where I have need.

20. I won’t base my giving to others on their merits, but on God’s grace and principles that will help me show true grace to them.

21. I won’t do very much one way giving, except in absolute emergency circumstances.

22. In my desire to show empathy, I will not act as if things that are not a crisis biblically are a crisis. I will not act as the American way of life is the biblical standard for how people should be living.

23. I will not promote discontentment.

24. I will remember that godliness with contentment is great gain.

25. I won’t be in a rush to fix situations unless absolutely necessary. Instead, I will work at listening and opening my eyes, so that I can better understand how I can serve others in a way that is truly helpful.

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