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Glorifying the God who walked among us. The blog of Renae Adelsberger.

Book Review: When Helping Hurts
A Fool’s Focus
Foolishness is Contagious
Families of a Fool
What Fools Hate

Book Review: When Helping Hurts


Book Review: When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert


My husband, Kevin, has worked with nonprofits in Jackson since 2010. The first nonprofit he worked at had a strong mission to help alleviate poverty. From his experiences, we both grew to believe in the importance of breaking the cycle of poverty in our city.

Since then, we have had several students join our youth group that come from families that need assistance. Poverty isn’t just a word in my vocabulary; poverty has a name and a face.

One our my social worker friends told me that the entire staff was required to read and discuss When Helping Hurts at her job. So I decided to get myself a copy and read it, too.

It’s not meant as a mere good read but as a thought-provoking book to be used in a group setting. Each chapter begins with initial thoughts to answer, the chapter, and then reflection questions and exercises.

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A Fool’s Focus

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“What are some actions a person might do if they were living a selfish life?”

Without missing a beat, one of my middle school students answered, “Jesus! They would do what He did.”

Stunned and confused, I took a few seconds before replying, “Jesus was selfish?”

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Foolishness is Contagious

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One of the hardest topics for me to explain to my middle school girls in Sunday School is how to find an appropriate balance between spending time with an unbeliever in order to build a relationship and share Christ and spending too much time with them so that you are the one being influenced to fall away from Christ.

As we’ve studied through Proverbs for all these summer months, one truth that has stuck out is that foolishness is contagious. I was once told by a mother of twin (now 4-year old) boys, that what one brother would never even consider doing, twin brothers will accomplish in record time.

Proverbs 13:20 tells us that “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

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Families of a Fool

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I sunk my head onto the steering wheel in the parking lot as I listened, for the second time in a year, to a mother weeping on the phone as she tells me that her son has been arrested. She’s crying out to God to give her wisdom and to change her son’s heart.

Proverbs 10:1, “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son, heartache to his mother.”

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What Fools Hate

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.
– Proverbs 1:7

As a child, I memorized that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But to this day if you had asked me to complete the verse, I wouldn’t be able to. As I’ve matured in my faith and spent more time in Scripture, I have found several places in Scripture where this is true.

Fools despise wisdom and discipline. This truth may have been more important for little kid Renae to grasp than knowing the origin of knowledge. I was definitely disciplined on earth much more 12 years ago than I am today.

Let’s couple this well-known verse with another one a mere 15 verses later:

How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance? How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge?
– Proverbs 1:22

What do you hate?

Hate is a strong word, but I would probably find several items to list in this category. I hate: live insects in my house, eating breakfast without orange juice, all things tomatoes except for ketchup, and using the stall without toilet paper.

My quick response of things that I hate revolve around earthly concerns – my comfort and preferences.

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