Have you ever had someone try to help you and they ended up making things worse? Or have you ever wanted to help someone else but no matter what you did they couldn’t break free of what they were struggling with?
It’s hard to know how to help someone. Especially when we see they’re in pain. Especially when we think they’re making bad choices or not the choices needed to end the trial they’re facing. If they would do one or two things we’re sure their whole life could change for the better.
But when we take matters into our own hands in order to aid or rescue someone else, there’s a fine line between appropriately helping them out of their dark pit and hindering their ability to learn and mature.
It’s the premise about feeding a hungry person. If you give them a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach them to fish, you feed them for a lifetime. We help others by equipping them and teaching them to fish in their pond of life. We hinder others by buying a fish here and there and expecting that they won’t go hungry again. If they never learn to fish on their own, they’re growth and maturity will be hampered and it will be hard for them to make good decisions.
Here are 3 Ways to Equip Others
1. Pray. It may seem odd to start with prayer, but we need guidance for how to approach the situation. And the person we want to help has to want help. Anything we try to force on someone isn’t going to last. They have to be receptive. Even if they’re combative, if they know deep down that they need help then there may be something we can do. But if we’re trying to impose our ideal or our will on them, we’ll be left drained and depressed when they don’t have the desire to be helped. Pray that they will have a true desire to go a new direction.
2. Ask questions and understand what they like and what they want. We have to take a genuine interest in them before they will respect what we have to say. It’s about love, respect and trust. We can make suggestions and help them to see the truth of the situation and potential consequences of various decisions. But at the end of the day, the solution has to be something that they believe is good and fits with their personality and interests. Otherwise they won’t stay the course.
3. Teach them how to fish with patience and kindness. Once we know what the agreed upon goal is, we can teach them step by step how to make the decisions to reach it. We walk with them during their journey. We encourage them along the way. We show patience and kindness even when they make mistakes or test our resilience. We may want to keep going back to Step 1 to pray! A key to success in this step is to also be speaking Truth into their life. The Word of God has the power to transform us––all of us. Plant the seeds of Truth while equipping them for the next season of their life. Those seeds will bring a harvest of good things in the months and years to come.
Helping someone by equipping them takes time and effort. It’s a lot easier to throw money at a situation or try to buy someone what they need. But when we help others learn how to make good decisions and provide for themselves, we’re giving them the opportunity not just to survive, but to begin a whole new journey of life.
Who knows, girls, we may even discover a fabulous new fishing hole in the process.
“The student who is fully trained will become like the teacher” Luke 6:40 (NLT)
May I pray?
Lord, we want to help others. But sometimes it’s really hard to know what to do. Give us the desire to do more than just offer money. Help us to take a true interest in others and get to know them so we can truly understand what they need. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. May we get out of our comfort zone and start walking the journey of life with others, speaking Your Truth along the way. Amen.
Q4U: How can you help equip someone in your life?