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The Helpless Helper

I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.
Albert Camus

Working with people who don't want help can be confusing. It often leaves the would-be helper feeling helpless. The situations quickly become complex, and the appropriate response is rarely clear-cut.

To illustrate some of the complicating factors, this chapter is devoted to a single story of a pastor caught in this miasma. As you read the case study, try to imagine yourself in the shoes of this pastor, and try to answer these questions:

— What is the root issue?

— Do I have a responsibility here, or is this simply not my problem?

— Can the people involved be helped? Or do we just write them off?

— Would it help to call in someone else for assistance? Who?

— What, if anything, can be done?

— How long do you keep trying?

— Why do these situations cause my stomach to knot?

These were the questions going through the mind of one pastor not long ago. See how your responses compare with ...

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