Leave the cape at home before leaping into action because it’s humble hearts and hands that are needed to save the day.
Hurricane Florence has begun pounding the East coast. If you’re wondering how you can help, the best place to start isn’t an immediate action, but an attitude of humility.
Scripture is clear that humility is essential to service. Jesus instructs his disciples, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). He also preaches it publicly, saying, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt. 23:11-12).
Swooping in to volunteer for the wrong reasons—like wanting to be a hero—is more likely to cause harm than help. It’s humble hearts and hands that will save the day. Humility will help you be more other-oriented and more open to hearing what sort of help survivors actually need.
Below are five biblically and research-supported steps you can take to ensure you are helping with humility on the ground or from afar.
Know your motivation for wanting to help.
Maybe your faith is compelling you to take action. Perhaps you feel moved by the devastating images filling your social media accounts. Compassion might be the driving force behind your altruism. These are all good reasons to help—and we hope you do.
But it’s possible to get involved with helping after a disaster for the wrong reasons. As disaster psychology researchers, we see this over and over again. Some people have what you might call a hero complex. They help not to meet the needs of others, but to meet their own needs.
They are often driven by external motivations, like getting “in on the action.” Other people want to be known as a do-gooder. Others might …
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