I am reading Sex God by Rob Bell and it really put these thoughts in perspective for me. The thought of how we devalue people and treat them inhumanely by simple acts. I mean we don’t go around torturing people but we don’t have to torture to devalue.
Have you ever watched a man’s head turn, like he’s Linda Blair in the movie the Exorcist, when he sees a women he finds attractive walk by? Have you ever heard a man say to another man, “Wow! I’d love to have a piece of that!” Of course you have and you see it everyday.
The problem is that “that” is a “she”. When we dehumanize a person we are devaluing her, God and ourselves. If we believe the bible and it says we were created in the image of God then to call her a “that” is to be void of any recognition of God in her. God didn’t create “that” he created “she” and “he”.
And it doesn’t just happen in those moments. It happens all the time in all sorts of situations. When we see a person who is homeless and it makes us uncomfortable so we ignore them. When we see a woman who we think dresses immodestly and we label her a slut, we devalue who she is. When we see an alcoholic who is behaving obnoxiously and we are disgusted because of his lack of self-control and determine that we are better than that.
An incident happened in my life to really bring this home this week and I had to examine my own heart regarding this situation and really assess how I had devalued someone. I know a man who is not what we’d consider a nice man, he’s not breaking laws but his lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired. Anyway, you get the picture.
He came to me with a story that totally made him the victim of something bad and I didn’t want to believe him even though I had to because I could tell he was telling the truth. I wanted to say, “Well this is how you live your life so deal with it”, but that would have been wrong because I would never have told anyone else that. It also would have been a lie because he didn’t deserve to be treated that way no matter what he had done. I realized that in my mind because of his lifestyle I had devalued him as a person. The feelings I had towards this new situation in his life had more to say about me than it did about him. I had forgotten that he was person.
When I forgot that that he was human I didn’t just devalue him. I devalued his creator. My actions said God had made junk. It really hit me that I thought somehow I was better and I am not any better. My sin is no less than his. My actions are no better than his but somehow I had reconciled all of that in my brain. I had justified something false and fake all the while wanting to be authentic. Truly, it breaks my heart, as I am no one to stand in judgment of anyone. In fact, to question what God was doing was not even my right or my place. I had to repent and see him as God saw him. God saw him as broken, hurt and in need of help. That same creator, the one who also created me saw the weaknesses in me as well and it broke his heart just as much for both of us.
Let’s begin to see people as God’s creation. We are his masterpiece. I for one have learned a valuable lesson this week. I hope I’ve expressed it well for you. My prayer is that we all begin to see each other as human. Yes, we notice flaws but that we notice them with the understanding that we all have them. We need to understand that we all fall short. That we are all in this together and that we would do better to help each other rather than to judge one another.