Who we are today is a result of the persons and experiences God has placed before us. Our journey through life is like a jigsaw puzzle, where each piece connects to those previously placed. Some pieces are full of joy, success, adulation—others are of despair, loneliness, and sadness. Although we don’t like the lows, they are as important as the highs; for if we didn’t experience sadness, how would we know what true happiness feels like?
There have been times in my life when I could see God was using the situation, likewise, some events didn’t make any sense at all. It has taken years to understand some of the things that have happened in my life. But even in those bad times, I can see God’s hand at work. Typically it’s because of the people who were at the right place at the right time. Many of them, I don’t even remember their names—the teacher who encouraged success in a time of self-doubt, a friend who guided me through an unhealthy decision. Even the grocery store clerk, who smiled and offered a helping hand. God puts people together for a purpose.
This is also true with the clients God places before us. The professional relationship we have with clients as social workers is to assist clients in making positive changes in their lives. Yet, God uses our clients to be vehicles of change, challenge, growth, and inspiration for us. No doubt, clients can be difficult. You might even see some as thorns in your side. Yet, if we believe that God is in control, then it is not by accident that these contentious individuals are placed on our case loads. Consider the fact that God might be using them as a puzzle piece in your life, to help you grow by sharpening your conflict resolution skills, in offering opportunity to work on your patience, empathy, and professional objectivity. From this perspective, God is using these grindstones as tools to hone your character.
Reciprocally, we are God’s tools in the lives of those we come in contact with. We are the jigsaw pieces for others. Viewed from this angle, each person in our lives whether they make us want to cuss or feel accomplished is really a present from God to us.
Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:
- Apply ethical, Christ-like attitudes, values, and worldview appropriate to mezzo social work practice. (PO 1)
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.Romans 15:7
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.1 Peter 4:10
- Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
- Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following discussion questions:
- Discuss the ethical implications of recognizing that clients influence social workers. At what point does this impact cross ethical boundaries? In what ways can we maintain a professional relationship with clients yet acknowledge how clients affect us?
- In identifying with the jigsaw puzzle metaphor, provide an example of a situation where God provided an opportunity of growth or was instrumental in shaping who you are. What did you learn? In what ways can you apply these teachings to your work with clients?