We were at his new office in Altamonte Springs. Joel ran out to our car to get a few boxes from the trunk. I held the lobby door open for him. But compelled to be more helpful, I let the door close and walked toward him to offer assistance. He stared at me incredulously.

Joel: “What are you doing?” he said with a bit of strain in his voice.
Me:   “Helping!”
Joel: “I don’t think that’s true. Our keys are inside the building and the door just locked behind you.”
Me: “Oh man, that’s not good.”
He agreed.

So we sat in a bit of a shady spot on that asphalt parking lot on that 94-degree day. For about 30 minutes we considered ways to improve our situation.

My attempt to help Joel by carrying boxes rather than holding the door didn’t make his life better. In fact, I just made it sweatier and really really frustrating. My best intentions and noble actions only put Joel in a more difficult position. You know I’m right because it’s way easier to carry a few boxes than it is to be super nice to a wife who locks you out of air conditioning on a 94-degree day.

Eventually, some amazing Z radio staff members, who didn’t lock their keys in their offices, rescued us. If blogs had hashtags, I’d put #grateful right here.

So what’s this got to do with anything? A lot. Most of us want to help others. But the truth is there are times helping hurts. That’s why Community Resource Network encourages every volunteer to attend a seminar called “When Helping Hurts.” Based on Brian Fikkert’s and Steve Corbett’s  book, by the same name, the principles it teaches are important. It is filled with great insights into how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor...and yourself. It teaches how to leave the door open for another’s progress.

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” -  John 15:12 (NLT)


  • Friday, November 3, 6-9pm and Saturday November 4, 9-2pm at Z Ministry Center in Altamonte Springs, Fl. This two day seminar will be led by Dr. Gretchen Kerr.

  • Friday, January 26 and Saturday January 27 the two day seminar will be held during the Serve the City Conference at Mosaic Church in Winter Garden. Dr. Brian Fikkert, author of “When Helping Hurts” will teach.