Helping without Knowing

Many people are genuinely attempting to improve the lives of others with the practices that bless their own.

He Saw That It Was Good p. 89

I appreciate his use of the word genuinely. And throughout the book, Baraka assumes good motives of others. Certainly there are bad actors, and certainly there are those who feign help when their motive is to hurt. But here he talks of genuine concern. The problem—and it is a problem with all of us—is that we are often blind to how what blesses one culture may not bless another. We are not talking about core gospel issues. But what he talked about earlier—the garnish on the truth. I have to know a person, a culture, a community, a neighborhood before I can bless it in the fullest sense. If I don’t know it, I’ll make too many assumptions—assumptions based on my own experience of what it means to be blessed. And that is often skewed by so many things: history, entertainment choices, friends, education, work history, and the history and experiences of relatives. 

And in knowing our neighbor well enough to help him, we might just find that our neighbor has plenty to offer us as well. 

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