In Focus

For Self and Others

Last year when I received my appointments as both Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development and the Territorial Social Justice Consultant, someone said, “Spiritual Life Development is an internal process and is generally an individual thing. Social Justice takes action and implies involvement with other people. It’s not that they’re incompatible, but they seem to be pointed in different directions. Won’t it be hard for you to focus on both?”

I then thought of something I heard at a Cultivate Spiritual Formation course several years ago where Robert Mulholland defined spiritual transformation as “Being conformed into the image of Christ for the sake of others.”

We don’t practice spiritual disciplines and strive to become more like Jesus solely for our own benefit. The Salvation Army is called a “holiness movement.” We strive to become holy and we move out into the world to share that holiness with others. Historically, we have reached out to the marginalized and we continue to do that in these days.

When asked which of the commandments was the most important, Jesus famously answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30–31).

To me, this Scripture suggests that personal holiness can be demonstrated through acts of mercy and compassion. In other words—spiritual formation and social justice. As our Founder said, “Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again—until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.”

In this SAconnects (the magazine), you’ll see how the Army is making a difference in people’s lives—one person at a time.

Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere
Territorial Social Justice Consultant
Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development

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