Monday, September 23, 2013

The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good

Several books have been recently published that explore the dangers inherent in ministries that target the poor and underserved segments of the population. Toxic Charity shows how well intentioned ministry can actually be detrimental in the long run, particularly if that ministry fails to address the causes that precipitated the individual’s dependence upon our charity. When I requested the book, The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, I thought would be reading along the same lines.

Peter Greer offers a great balance to the growing list of titles about people helping people. Unlike Toxic Charity, Greer does not deal with how our helping people can hurt those who are helped; rather he shows how helping people can hurt the people who are the helpers. The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good recounts the dangers that may easily overtake the leaders involved in ministry. Chapters cover topics like “the Spiritual Danger of Giving Leftovers to Loved Ones” (especially convicting), “The Spiritual Danger of Justifying Minor Moral Lapses for a Good Cause” and “The Spiritual Danger of Thinking You’re the Superhero in Your Story,” to name a few.

When you read the chapter titles, it is easy to think of certain individuals in the public spotlight who have become the poster child for the dangers covered in the chapters. Greer, however, avoids the easy targets and shows how all of these dangers can trip up any of us. He takes a shot at all of us with words like, “Nothing is wrong in taking pleasure in your work… Work is a gift. But finding your identity in your work is a cheap substitute for finding your worth in Jesus Christ. And I’d forgotten my identity as a Christian leader was subordinate to my calling as a follower of Him (italics original).”

My wife finished The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good before I did. Her comment was that “every man in ministry should be required to read this.” I finished the book. I concur.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Library Thing as part of their Early Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

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