Short-term mission trips are incredibly fun and challenging ways to see what God is doing around the world.
I have now visited Guatemala City, Guatemala and Edinburgh, Scotland. Although these two places have more distinctions than similarities, they have one thing in common. They both are homes to children who are in desperate need of true Gospel-infused love.
While in Guatemala, I worked with a group of orphans. These little people never had the opportunity to grow up in the comfort of a dual-parent household, where love was portrayed.
In Scotland, the kids had tough exteriors. I encountered children as young as 4 cursing at me when I politely greeted them. Older children were humored by throwing things at the younger kids, catching me in the crossfire.
Worlds apart, these two groups of children are marginalized in their countries.
All humans are image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:26). Therefore, I am called to view the rest of humanity just as God, the Father does...which is, with worth, value, and dignity.
How can the Gospel alter my view
of the marginalized around the world?
Step #1: Acknowledge your own worth and value (Matthew 6:26). I must first recognize my own worth and value in Christ. I am inherently valuable, not because of what I have done, but because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross.
Step #2: Do not regard anyone according to his or her flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16). In other words, do not judge others according to their sin nature. Look at everyone as souls for whom Christ died.
Step #3: Love everyone (Matthew 22:39). Love is an action. Loving someone means encouragement, pushing one towards scripture and truth, and providing a judgment-free, listening ear. Actively, intentionally, and consistently love the people around you.
Step #4: Remember that everyone has a story. This truth affects every aspect of a person’s being. The way someone treats you may not depict how they view you, but how they view themselves.
Step #5: See unlimited potential in EVERYONE. Reading the Apostle Paul’s story gives me hope that God can reach any person on earth with His grace and salvation. The children I met briefly may have a long road of life before them, but their circumstances are not hindrances to God.
Viewing marginalized social groups as having intrinsic worth, value, and dignity takes work and obedience. However, in order to obey Jesus’ command to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), it is a worthy task.