Turning people into objects, into things to be used, rather than beings made in the image of God, happens too often and it has awful consequences. Nations do it when they go to war. The ‘other side’ is turned into a country of caricatures, de-humanized with a series of demeaning adjectives. It is easier to justify bombing or killing ‘things’ than real people who are someone’s son or husband. When people are killed in war, we avoid the truth by speaking blandly of ‘collateral damage.’
Millions of women have felt the ugliness of being made into an object valued for beauty rather than a person to be loved. Racism turns people into colors – black, white, brown. We all tend to objectify people casually even if we are not racist or sexist. We forget that the inattentive person who serves us from behind a counter is dealing with life, just like us. We grow irritated with the guy driving on our bumper and he becomes an object of our anger, something less than human.
Jesus taught that the whole of God’s law is summed up in two commands – “Love God and love others.” His words – ”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV) If we love in that way, we will go beyond tolerance to give grace, to seek the best for even those who are our enemies. You think I am just being sentimental?
Jesus’ word – “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.” (Matthew 5:43-45, The Message)
Our love of others grows out of the love that God has for us. He does not just see us for what we do – good or bad. He loves us because we are. I love the story of the Waiting Father told in Luke 15. A young man, arrogant and proud, demanded his inheritance and went off to waste it all, partying, forgetting the ‘old man’ completely …. For a while. Then when he was broke, hungry, and alone he decided to try to go home and make a deal. “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’” (Luke 15:19, NIV)
What he said, in a world of justice, was true. He was unworthy of relationship. But, his father never forgot the son. He loved him, seeing more than his mistakes and sin. “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20, NLT) That story, which is told about everyone of us who has forgotten our Heavenly Father, fills me with such joy! I am not just a collection of sins and successes. I am his son! You, too, are His child.
When we accept that, by faith, we are born anew in His family, His Spirit taking up residence in us, changing us inside out. So loved, we no longer objectify those who are beloved by God. “We love,” John says, “because He loved us first.”
Are you feeling like an object, useful only for what you do …
for your family, for your boss, for the world?
God sees you and loves you.
Are you treating others like objects, forgetting that they are sacred,
made in His image?
Ask God to forgive, to renew your understanding of His love
and to help you to love.
The word from the Word comes from the old story of a young woman who was treated terribly. As Hagar fled her abusers, God found her in the desert and comforted her.
“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:
“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”” (Genesis 16:13, NIV)
He sees YOU today, my friend. Be loved.
Because You were forsaken
You were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your Spirit is within me
Because You died
And rose again
How can it be
That You my King
Would die for me
I know it’s true
It’s my joy to honor You
In all I do I honor You
You are my King
You are my King
Jesus You are my King
Jesus You are my King
Billy J. Foote
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