I am currently in the middle of a conference about helping those who are vulnerable in our society: Whether they are poor or are experiencing social injustice or are orphans or are widowed/elderly. It has been an amazing conference and my head is completely spinning.
However, one of the things that I am taking away from it is that the vulnerable are not lesser than me. They have brains that work and ideas and experiences. Some of them have experienced life more in depthly (word?) than I have. They just need to have the support to make a good decision instead of enabling “providers” that increase the likelyhood that that they will make a bad decision.
And we have to define bad decision. Is it a bad decision to be on food stamps so that your children can eat? What if you refused that resource and didn’t eat? Would you be considered a neglegient parent? Would the state try to take your child away for abandonment?
Is it a bad decision to take State Medical Assistance under any circumstances? What if you have a disease that causes you to be denied private insurance, but you can go to the hospital and get treatment with State aid?
These are not necessarily bad decisions! They aren’t. But they are meant to be temporary. There are better decisions, but in the midst of a crisis it is hard to look beyond that.
How can the church provide a bit of relief and then encourage the next step to rehabilitating the situation. It’s time to think outside the box. It’s not us versus the government. It’s us being involved no matter what the government does (at least in this area. I realize the government is broader than social aid).
So as I am trying to process all this information, I am also trying to figure out what my role is. What is God calling me to do for those He loves? It’s a pretty heavy question and it’s on my heart. I hope it might be on yours, too!