The simplest definition of poverty is the lack of material possessions or income, which is often not enough to meet a person’s needs. When that happens, people are forced to prioritize, and often have to forego essential needs that most others take for granted. However, this is one definition of poverty. In a book called When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, the authors provide a slightly different view of poverty, and how to alleviate it. Here are a few things about poverty and how to mitigate it using the principles found in the book.
Christian View of Poverty
According to the authors, the Christian view of poverty comes from a comprehensive understanding as to why Jesus Christ came on this planet. The purpose was simple: to heal the cosmos and rule supreme on this universe. God originally designed humans in His image, so we can be referred to as relational beings. According to the book, Bryant Myers, who is quoted in the book, says, “Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.”
Nobody wants attributes such as shame, fear, depression, powerlessness, and voicelessness in their life. Yet, every poor person feels that way on a daily basis. The book states that no human should have to live in poverty on a day to day basis, and many poor people are plagued with spiritual and social poverty. Ultimately, this also affects their view of their self-worth. Now that you understand the Christian view of poverty, it’s important to understand how we can alleviate it.