“Of course those teachers have plenty of time to play sports. It isn’t like they are one of us.”
My heart froze at those words, spoken loudly enough for many to hear on the sidelines of the dusty, make-shift volleyball court. Then I felt a rush of anger at the judgment expressed, unfair and so unnecessary.
How could these people, these fellow Christians, speak so harshly of my staff? Aren’t we all on the same side?
The international school where I was principal sponsored the annual event for fun, to provide a respite for expats from the daily grind of living and serving in Kabul, Afghanistan. Several organizations brought teams to join the light-hearted competition.
I had seen the couple who made the accusations at weekly international church services. They clearly believed the way of serving and living cross-culturally required blending in as closely as possible to the local people. Teachers on a guarded compound couldn’t be doing the real work of overseas ministry.
To run our American K-12, college-prep school, we needed logistical upgrades for our staff and school needs. Still, the members of my team were vetted professional educators who loved the Lord and wanted to make a difference in this war-torn, under-resourced place.
Was this a wise way to live among non-Christians? To judge how others served overseas?
Many of the expat families came to serve in Kabul because their children could be with them and be well-educated. Repatriating Afghans wanted to continue their children’s Western-standard academics for a bright future and chose to attend our school, along with ambitious local families.
Our work was different but still part of the Kingdom impact. Even though we could not openly share the Gospel to our majority Muslim and non-Christian students, we were doing our best to demonstrate respect for differences in gender, culture, and religion. We wanted to live wisely and well before their watching eyes to create interest in knowing God.
Do you struggle with judgment for others you serve with in your ministry or organization? How do you bring these feelings under the discernment of the Holy Spirit to allow you to live well and humbly?