I listened recently to an amazing teaching that included the subtleties of the heart we may or may not have when helping others.
The most compelling part to me was the point that unless we reach out from a place of humility, we will seldom be effective. Why? Well probably because our agenda is tainted. And that rather than trying to help them in the reality of who they are and the circumstances they are in, we will in all likelihood be trying to achieve something else…. like self-fulfillment, rescuing, being the hero, guilt, or some such other ulterior motive.
We will often miss the point of what real help for them is. We will be fulfilling first our own need. And yes, they may in some way benefit from our efforts even if born out of our tainted motive. Our effectiveness may simply be limited… or nil.
What lurks in our hearts? Only God knows. Only God can reveal.
(find minute 19:00 or so in the Dec 26, 2010 talk) http://www.themeetinghouse.com/pageid/1692/