Genuine and Holistic
Assistance is a vital part of abolition, for without assistance our ideology is just ideas and words. It is a multi-faceted part of abolitionism because it meets a need. Needs are varied, and so are the needy.
Assistance is not just handing over diapers to a soon to be mother, adopting an orphan, or caring for a foster child. These are important aspects of assistance. But it can also include helping a family stay together, grow together, and stand on their own two feet as they are able.
Assistance means we come into contact with sinners; with people who will frustrate us, be difficult to love, and have needs we might not be able to meet. Because of this, an important part of assistance is that it is done by the whole community, the Ecclesia, and not by one person who sees orphans as “their calling” (James 1:27). Serving as a safe harbor is assistance, crowdsourcing for a specific financial need is assistance, but so is the confrontation of sin with the patient and compassionate teaching of truth.
Assistance is a unique means of discipleship. As we are the hands and feet of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), our service to others establishes trust and a genuine understanding of what the Gospel is (Matthew 20:20-28). Our investment in someone earns authority when we declare the Gospel.
Assistance is holistic. Assistance addresses the immediate physical and emotional needs of others but it never neglects the whole of the person: the body and soul.
Assistance is individual. It is not a mere program with an application (though it can be, and sometimes those are helpful), so when individuals in the Bride of Christ meet needs it is what each person requires and is geared towards equipping them to serve God. It is not a cookie-cutter approach.
Assistance is temporary. It is meant to equip, encourage, and disciple those in need in order for them to be able to find lasting solutions for their needs and take an active part in enacting them.
Assistance is compassionate and humble. It asks “What are your needs? What is your situation? What can I do?” It does not grasp at power or treat human beings as projects or objects, but rather assistance builds an understanding of each human’s identity as an Image Bearer of God, their dignity as a human being, and their God-given ability and liberty to choose how best to serve and honor God based on their own individual calling in the Kingdom of God.
Assistance is about service and truth. It is hard, gritty, frustrating, empowering, amazing, miraculous, and exhausting. This is why we, as the Church, are all to be engaged in some form of assistance to the poor, needy, and oppressed.