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Effective social workers

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23–24

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And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Matthew 7:3–5


Background Information
It is often our job as social workers to help find “the speck in the eyes” of our clients. In fact, an entire manual has been written, called the DSM-V, to help identify problems, weaknesses, and disorders of those we serve. You may have even been told by your friends or family members that you are always diagnosing them. It is truly a hazard of the trade. To be effective social workers and humble people, however, we must approach this privilege of helping others remove their specks with the knowledge that we have some pretty big logs of our own.

Sometimes, social workers or other helpers can be quick to label and judge clients as “lazy” “non-compliant,” “borderline,” or “bad parents.” This is unhelpful and unethical in a strength-based profession, but even social workers can feel superior at times.

Jesus reminds us to make sure we get the process right. First, we must look at the log in our own eye. After, we can properly help others with their issues. As you continue with your practicum experience reflect on your strengths and weaknesses this week and use the words of Psalm 139 as your prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to point out the things that you may need to change first to serve God and others better.


Lord, prepare my heart to be a social worker. I know that I am imperfect. I know that I am prone to judge others at times and often lack the wisdom to help, but thank you that you can still use me. Help me to be humble and give me the truth and love that will be needed to help each person. I ask it in the name of Jesus your Son. Amen.

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:
As you think about the need to examine your own heart and life before helping others, give an example or describe a situation where your own issues got in the way of being able to effectively help someone. What happened? What were the results? What did you learn from this experience? What will you do to keep the speck in your own eyes from getting in the way of effectively helping others in the future?
Reflecting on Psalm 139 as written above, what anxious thoughts do you tend to have about serving others at your agency? Discuss why you feel anxious and how God and your trust in Him can help you manage this in the coming weeks.

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