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Sticks and Stones and Words Can Hurt Me

Every time I write a blog post about my husband Billy, I get his approval before I share it online.   

Whether it’s amusing anecdotes about how Spanish and English mix up in our marriage or a recent opportunity to share a guest blog about his immigration experience outside this site… I always ask.

I ask because I would hate to embarrass him, offend him, or represent him in a way he would not choose to represent himself.  Our relationship is more important than any story.

Bob Lupton, a veteran Atlanta urban minister, just released a book called Toxic CharityIt’s a powerful challenge that sheds light on traditional charity activities that often unintentionally harm the very communities and people that they hope to help.

One area he draws attention to is the way ministries represent their neighbors and friends.  Often we tell of personal details… victimization, poor choices, tragedies… that our friends would not typically use to introduce themselves. 

We rarely ask the youth we mentor, the English language learners we tutor, or our community neighbors and partners to read our newsletters, our books, or our blogs.  We should.

It’s been a challenge to me to be reminded to think this way because I love to tell the stories.  I’ve always joked that I have no stories of my own… I just share other people's lives.  But the relationships are more important than any story… even if it’s a really powerful one.

The dignity of the people we share life with in our communities must be respected. 

6 comments

  1. Beautifully and lovingly written reminder....thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thank you, Becky. It's a challenge others have been sharing with me that has made me think a lot.

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  3. Thanks, Sarah. The real challenge and goal is to think of and treat our neighbors as family.

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  4. Well said, Donna!

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  5. Andrea McMorran7:09 AM

    Toxic Charity is a great book! It makes me want to figure out how to be more effective in helping those who need it.

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  6. It is a terrific book. There's a follow-up coming out later this year!

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