Jesus and social work

Diversity makes for a rich tapestry. We must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter their colour; equal in importance no matter their texture. – Maya Angelou

Good frosty, chilly day! After alluring warmer temps, winter has finally arrived. Sad smile

As a profession, social work is a field full of possibilities and opportunities. Whether it’s working on the micro level with individuals, families or groups, or the mezzo/macro level with larger groups such as communities, organizations or larger systems, there are core components and values of the profession we always adhere to when in practice.

You may ask, what do Jesus and social work have in common? I began comparing my two passions—faith and social work. I’m not at all saying as social workers we are Jesus, however, in some ways no matter religious affiliation, I believe we can agree that just as social work seeks to give voice to the oppressed, Jesus lived to love the marginalized. As a practicing Catholic, social work is near to my heart. With the Catholic Church and Her two-thousand-year history as a wise example, I regularly see the messages of mercy and the beauty of the beatitudes carried out on a daily basis through Church organizations and charities.

Here is why I believe Jesus was the best social worker humanity could ever have.

  • Jesus always meets us where we are. Social workers meet our clients’ where they are, not where we think they should be.
  • Just as social workers serve in different capacities, Jesus performed miracles and taught skeptics and followers alike on all levels. Whether it was the Sermon on the Mount or the appearance on the road to Emmaus, Jesus was able to work in various settings.
  • Jesus cherishes and loves every soul despite our flaws and past sins. Each and every individual, group or family a social worker helps has a history. However, this does not determine their potential, future or worth.
  • Jesus does not focus on our past, rather He believes in our future. Social workers are called to focus on the strengths perspective and embody a proactive positive forward mindset toward every client.
  • Jesus is persistent, patient and empathetic even when we are resistant to His salvation. Although at times clients may be ambivalent toward treatment or interventions, we continue to be these three characteristics.
  • Jesus along with the richness of the Holy Bible and the traditions of the Holy Catholic and apostolic Church are always dependable. The research and wealth of knowledge regarding evidence-based social work practices have been tested, tried and taught which prove reliability and validity.
  • Jesus never abandons us even when we walk away. We may have clients who may not want to always work with us, but the door is always open.
  • Jesus and the Communion of Saints serve as intercessors between us and God. Social workers at times act as mediators for clients.
  • Jesus allows us to practice self-determination despite the pros or cons of our outcomes. Self-determination, the ability to make one’s own decisions is a core aspect of the social work profession.

Until next time,

Anjelina

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