Dave Brisbin 2.27.22
A pastor came with us to Mexico to deliver food and supplies to one of the poorest areas along the US border. Our organization supplied five dining rooms that served before-school breakfasts, and the women who served the children every morning insisted on serving us lunch, because that was who they were. After lunch the pastor sat the women down and through an interpreter, led them through the “sinner’s prayer,” the ritual he believed brought them into the Christian fold and made them acceptable to God. The women dutifully did as he asked, but came to me later highly insulted. What went wrong?
With every good intention but without knowing them, the pastor judged what they needed according to his standard of faith. He didn’t know they were all devout Catholics or Protestants who rose in the dark every morning to hours of work preparing food, cleaning for the next day, loving those kids as their own expression of gospel. Without taking time to find out whether they wanted or needed his help, he went home feeling he did well, leaving me to repair relationships as best I could.
Judging always keeps us at least arm’s length from each other. Discernment requires a dive into the experience of relationship to see what love requires. In Mexico, the women far exceeded our poor understanding of gospel. They needed our food and supplies, but not our pearls and rings.
We needed to know the difference.