How do we serve those in need while allowing them to maintain personal dignity?
Is it possible to serve others in a way that causes more harm than good?
At EM we seek to serve others in a way that is sensitive to their personal dignity.
We must never enter a needy community with the attitude that we are somehow "superior" to residents there simply because we were born into circumstances that provide easy access to employment, food, shelter and education. It is always important to take time and consider how those we intend to serve might see our efforts.
We go to a community to share our time, love and resources with the people there, to work alongside them as brothers and sisters and to spread Christ's love. But we must always keep in mind that when serving people with desperate needs, it can be very easy to make them feel that we're only serving because we have pity on them or because we want to feel good about ourselves.
The people we serve persevere in the face of extreme hardships. They are champions, and they should be treated as such. The only difference between us and them is our easy access to resources. Our goal is to develop relationships with mutual feelings of respect and honor. We must be always be sensitive to our posture and our attitude so that when we do offer our resources, others feel the love, respect and dignity they are entitled to as God's children.
What steps can we take to remain sensitive to personal dignity?
EM projects are designed to encourage partnership between community residents and volunteers who come to serve. Every person involved is encouraged to be both a giving and receiving partner in ministry.
In order to demonstrate that we really care, we must treat people with the genuine respect God's creations deserve and be sure they do not feel like "targets." We must continually check our motives for service. We will acknowledge and correct any service that is done in a way that represses others in order to elevate ourselves.
We will not simply serve - we will be servants.
Return to Philosophy