It is my first social work class. I’m excited, a dead give away I’m fresh into my degree. Third and fourth year students look like they might fall asleep before the class has even begun. The teacher walks in and moment by moment, statement by statement I can feel myself sinking. She’s taking about politics, social justice, right wing, left wing political parties, we talked welfare and workfare.
I left the class feeling for lack of a better word, overwhelmed. Overwhelmed not because I hadn’t heard of any of this before. Overwhelmed because usually, I tune this stuff out. I hate politics, I know politics are necessary, but I just choose to look the other way. Suddenly I’m paying for a class where I can’t look the other way. It’s in my face and it was drowning me. We looked at war, racism, abortion, welfare, poverty, globalization, morals, ethics, ideology. I was being flooded. I stumbled out of class convicted and confused. I found myself asking, do I have to have an opinion about all social topics? Does my uneducated opinion even matter?
This morning I sat down and read part of Martin Luther Kings, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
Jon Bloom writes about Dr. Kings speech...
“It’s disturbing to think that people of general good will but a shallow understanding of the plight of the oppressed, who have a lukewarm sympathy but no real vested interest in change, just might be a worse enemy of justice than aggressors. Because they do not advocate for the oppressed nor fight against the oppressor. They smile supportively to the former and practically do nothing to stop the latter. Such good will is indifference in its worst form. It has an appearance of doing justice and loving kindness but denying its power. And I have been guilty of it. I still am guilty of it, not only concerning race but many other things that come to mind. And when it comes to love, truth, and justice, Jesus does not like lukewarmness (Revelation 3:16).”
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
Father forgive my apathetic, pathetic excuses for staying away from hot topic social issues. You certainly didn't shy away from intense conversations or awkward interactions. Father give me humility to listen and patience to understand what others are saying and where they might be coming from. Thank you that I don't have to run this Country, oh Lord I am thankful for that. Give me courage to go where you're calling me and be ready to speak when words need to be said. Thank you that you are an all knowing, all powerful God. Thank you for your patience, please make me anything but lukewarm.