Toxic Charity - Review
Do the charitable acts of your local church do more harm than good? Robert D. Lupton brings up this assuming question in his book Toxic Charity. It is difficult to see how helping people can do them harm. We cringe at words like enabling when showing people love on behalf of Jesus. And it would break our heart to think that our short term missions trips may actually cause harm to the ministries they go to help. Lupton outlines many of the areas where helping can become toxic for those on the receiving end. His arguments are well thought out and quite compelling. The best part about Lupton's book is that he offers suggestions to fix the problem. He is not against charity, just toxic charity. He advocates for hard work, responsibility and dignity when extending aid to those in need. The better half of ten chapters outline a style of giving that treats more than the symptoms of poverty and need.
This book has made me think hard about the ministries of my church. I have been seeing some of our work, both past and present, in a new light. Lupton's work compliments the efforts of Brian Fikkert and his more theological based book titled When Helping Hurts. I would recommend that you read Toxic Charity and take a close look at the compassion ministries of your church. You might be able to turn a crutch into a cure and contribute to the betterment of lives both near and far.