Respect leads to growth and health
I once met a Salvation Army client who told me she had been able to ‘find God’ by ‘shaking someone’s hand’. I thought to myself, well, we all do that every day, shake people’s hands… I didn’t get it.
Later I spoke with her. She explained that, as a survivor of Family and Domestic Violence, initiating physical contact with another human being was a significant act. It was healing for her; a God moment.
You never know someone’s struggles. You never know their back story, unless they choose to share it. And we can never make assumptions about people. We’re mates now, and I have seen that person recover physically, emotionally and spiritually. They have gone to become first a Salvation Army adherent member and then a Salvation Army soldier. *
Salvation Army service is about choosing to be vulnerable; to be open to the lives of other people. Anyone working for The Salvation Army, or serving as a Salvation Army officer, has to start from the baseline understanding that the people they meet deserve their respect. Every person is of value and of infinite worth, as we are all made in the image of a loving God.
This understanding informs Salvation Army practice.
Salvos adhere to the belief that service has to be offered with an awareness of the dignity and worth of the person being served, and – from their perspective – that there can be ‘nothing about me without me’.