Safe Places / Healing Communities

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
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not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24–25

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
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Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
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And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
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Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
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And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:12–17

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Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21


Resources

  • Bible
  • Video: Love Like Breathing:

Background Information

Social service agencies can be busy places. There is paperwork to complete, meetings to attend, phones ringing, and people coming and going. In today’s world of technology and heightened safety protocols there may also be protective glass windows, buzzing doors and electronic phone answering systems. Or if you are using telehealth technology there may still be people coming and going, background noise, etc. All of this adds to the noise and chaos that may be a part of agency life. Unfortunately, there can also sometimes be cranky receptionists, annoyed service staff or clinicians that are impersonal or in a hurry. All of these things can make clients feel unimportant or create additional stress or sensory triggers for sensitive clients. Healing and restoring environments like the ones God calls us to create send a different message and provide a place of welcome and grace. Imagine if your agency had a culture like the one described in the passages above where people “spurred each other on to love and good deeds”, encouraged one another, were compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, grateful and submissive to one another instead of ending up in power struggles. Picture yourself for a moment in this kind of place. How would you feel? How would it help you to grow as a person? What would it mean for your relationships with others?

Many of our clients come from very stressful, challenging, depriving or hurtful environments. As you consider these passages this week, think of ways you can begin to create a more positive, gracious and healing environment in your agency and in your relationships with clients and others as you do your work.

Prayer

God, thank you that your desire for us is to be a part of loving and encouraging communities. You know much more than we do that it is only through loving relationships with You and others that we change and become more of who You made us to be. Show me this week how I can add grace, compassion, encouragement and emotional safety to my work and placement site so that the people I serve can have a safe place to grow. In Jesus name. Amen.


Instructions

  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. OPTIONAL: Listen to the music video, Love Like Breathing.
  3. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following discussion questions:
    1. Describe a time and place when you experienced a relationship or group atmosphere that was positive, loving and encouraging. What specific ways did people act that made it feel this way? How did you change as a result of being in this situation? How did it affect your relationship with God?
    2. What is the current atmosphere of the agency you are in for your placement? Identify two or more positives about the environment and how it can help clients. Identify two weaknesses about the environment and what you think can be done to help it be a safer more healing atmosphere. Be specific about actions the agency could take to make improvements.

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