When I began volunteering with the Mission Church’s college program, I heard stories from the kids I spent time with that blew my mind. Stories that these kids should not have to live out. While I was taken aback and appalled with the sad circumstances these kids deal with daily, I began to feel bad for feeling bad for them. I did not understand it; why shouldn’t I feel bad for them? They are living in pretty terrible conditions, after all. Still, I could not reconcile the feeling deep within me that told me to get on their level and have fun with them without the pity party.
Something Jonathan Storment said during his sermon Sunday morning at Highland Church of Christ made me really think about those feelings I had been ignoring, that still, small voice that I had been hearing. He mentioned that the danger of churches going into the poor community (or any other rough living situation for that matter) is the attitude ultimately taken by the church-goers, as if they are an extraordinary help to everyone around them. I have to disagree. While I understand that we are contributing when we pass out food to the homeless or mentor kids with a rough home life, it is important to remember that not one person should ever be viewed as our charity case.
When we go out into the world to fulfill God’s ministry, we are simply sharing the generous love that Christ so eagerly shares with us minute by minute. We need to stop thinking we are more important than we actually are. God is the one to be glorified, not us. We are vessels for Him. In turn, while these people may not know God, they will feel His love through us. Ultimately, this is our goal. If we want to actually forge relationships with people that may live in a very different world than we, belittling them will not get us there. After all, nobody wants to feel like they are worth less than someone else. So we spend time with them, create friendships with them. W get off our white horses, take off our knightly armor and just walk with them.
This is how God’s kingdom work is carried out – through relationships and sharing the love of God. Gathering with those that society may cast aside, and looking at them through child-like eyes. Seeing them how God sees them, without pity but with love.