Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The faith of a social worker    (2/17/2008 )

Social work is a very natural place for Christians to be; Jesus demonstrated the coming of his kingdom by bringing practical healing and restoration to individuals and families. I'm passionate about seeing people and families made whole, and working to bring restoration wherever possible. This passion comes from my Christian belief that God made us and is hugely interested in every aspect of our lives.

However, social work is also a challenging place for Christians to be! In this age of political correctness, those in the field of social care can be so dogmatic about tolerance and acceptance that they do not accept personal values in the workplace. There is little understanding that if I believe something to be true, I believe it to be true universally and for everyone.

The pressure to leave my faith at home is significant. For example, one single mother was struggling to balance her work and the needs of her teenage daughter. 'Care for the Family' is a Christian charity which supports people with this very difficulty. It does not ‘Bible-bash' or try to convert people; it is there for everyone, regard les s of their faith (but those who work there are Christians). Anyway, I told this lady about the service, openly telling her that it is a Christian charity. Whilst many within social services departments would agree that giving people knowledge and choice is good, my manager felt that this single mother would be ‘brainwashed' into becoming a Christian, and that I had abused my position. Sadly, this kind of response is common in modern social care. Yet a vast number of the world's major charities, such as Oxfam, were founded on Christian principles.

It is frustrating that I am not allowed to pass on, to those in need, what I believe to be the very best resource for supporting them and transforming their situation: Jesus Christ himself. However, God's kingdom is wider than this. Jesus himself healed many people of physical ailments without at that time explaining to them that he had come to die for their sins. He loved them and he cared for them at every level.

Our world is very broken, and many people, families and communities are torn apart by hurt. Being a social worker enab les me to use my skills and my love to make a difference in people's lives. One old lady was absolutely thrilled when I provided her with a long-armed tool that would pick up a dropped pen and pull up her tights. Many others have had their lives and relationships transformed when I have found them the right setting in which to live. Other situations take years of careful support to bring healing and transformation. In each, Jesus' love is the source of my love and I see what I do as part of his kingdom work. I am also reliant on his love for me to see me through the personal challenges of being in a workplace sometimes antagonistic towards him.

I don't get everything right, and many situations I face are very challenging, but with God there is a way forward. With God there is light and hope.

Pray: Dear God, there are many people hurting in this world and there is much damage to repair. Please bring your light to the world and help me to do what I can to show real love to those I meet. Amen

Think about: For whom am I a close friend, making a difference in protecting and building their wholeness? For whom can I do this better? How do I behave at work, at home and at the shops to build and encourage people's well-being? Which do I do most readily: smile or moan?

Challenge: In which areas of your life is your integrity challenged? How can you maintain your integrity, rather than compromising your beliefs, and yet continue to work kindly, sensitively and with respect for everyone?

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