In the fresh quiet of not having the harp strumming in my ear, I thought about all that had happened. Why was money not acceptable to this woman? Why did she want ME to buy her baby milk, even though the money offered was more than the milk cost?
Upon reflection I struck on one word: Dignity
Here we come upon a certain truth at the heart of Christ’s method of working for souls — namely he aimed to preserve dignity.
- Why else would he pause to pick up the severed ear of a man who had come to witness Jesus’ arrest?
- Why else would he initiate a meal at a despised tax collectors home?
- Why else did he cloth the man who had a legion of demons cast out of him?
In your soul winning work honor others. Here are three tools:
a) Dignity grows when people are asked, not told. Dignity yearns to be in the drivers seat of one’s own life. Example: Jesus, who created the eyeball had the patient respect to ask the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41) Isn’t it obvious? Shouldn’t Jesus have just healed him? That wasn’t Jesus’ method, instead he allowed a blind beggar to be in control of his own future.
Key: Rather than handing people goals how can you ask questions that help them discover their goals?
b) Dignity recognizes that a person’s current situation doesn’t define them. Terrible poverty, doesn’t diminish human value. We are made in the image of God — impoverished Jesus, pinned to a cross, credited a thief with eternal rewards. How we too must keep circumstance and value separate so dignity can thrive. When working with people don’t let their house, their clothes, their habits, or their past beliefs alter the dignity we give them.
Key: How can you help others who have confused their own value because of their circumstance?
c) Dignity is largely communicated without words. You are an ambassador of Christ — consider those you meet as dignitaries! Sit where people sit, eat what others eat, shake hands, trust, and treat people as honorable. In this way their hearts will aspire for the noble calling that God has on their life.
Key: How can you communicate worth without speaking it?