Supporting human dignity seems like one of those obvious things that shouldn’t require serious reflection. We all believe people deserve to be treated with respect, right? It’s hard to imagine a Christian who would admit to thinking other people are inferior to him.
As with everything, actions speak louder than beliefs, and unfortunately sometimes the things we say and the way we serve puts an “inferior” label on the person in front of us. We probably don’t even realize it’s happening. It’s the way ministry’s always been done or it’s how we’ve heard other people talk about their mission trip. It’s the things we never think to question. At 127 Worldwide, we know we have learned or cultivated ministry habits that center ourselves, and we welcome holding up the mirror to expose where we err.
We attempt to name some of those mistakes elsewhere but here we’ve linked to 127 Worldwide’s human dignity emphasis. It gives two practical applications that frame much of our work in vulnerable communities.
- This piece gives three examples of “small, unnoticed things that work to undermine human dignity.” (Doing something for someone they can do themselves, describing people as “so poor but so happy”, and exaggerating the exoticness of the communities we visit) Can you think of other subconscious habits that can do harm to human dignity?
- 127 Worldwide provides two primary categories for these human dignity offenses: either elevating ourselves above someone else or trying to play the role of God. Into which category do each of the examples you gave fit?
- Besides critical evaluation of our attitudes and actions, what are some other ways we can cultivate habits and vocabulary that honor human dignity?