People Matter

One of my young friends brought the movie "To Save a Life" to my attention.  A movie with limited showings (the closest theater to me is in Benton Harbor, Michigan), it begs the question- if high school students were as concerned about others as themselves, and were willing to reach out beyond their own circles, what kind of tragedies could be prevented?

In April of last year I posted the following blog.  I think the message bears repeating. 

At some point we’ve all objectified other people. We’ve made fun of someone with an odd appearance, or who walks a particular way. We’ve laughed at jokes based on stereotypes. We’ve dismissed someone as “one of those…” and assumed we knew his motives. We’ve made all kinds of remarks about the car in front of us or behind us, when we don’t think at all about the driver.

I’m reminded of a song that I cannot remember the artist, title, or exact lyrics. It talks about not knowing what the person beside us is going through. We may see a man on a bus with unruly kids and think he’s a terrible father, not knowing his wife is terminally ill in the hospital and he’s having a hard time dealing with it. We may yell at a man who’s driving ten miles under the speed limit on the highway, not realizing he’s a widower with no family nearby that is just trying to survive.

Let’s face it, we have to make quick judgments everyday in order to function. We have to decide who to mingle with in a professional situation. We have to decide if strangers in the nearby vicinity pose a threat. We have to decide whether to trust someone when we’re sharing our opinions or feelings.

Yet, we have to make a conscious effort to see people as individual people created by God. It’s when we drift from that notion that people become things, or even tools to use for our own benefit. Is it that far of a leap that someone would kill others, if they represent objects rather than living, breathing human beings with families, dreams, feelings, and life stories?

Jesus said that speaking in hatred to a close friend is equivalent to murder. It’s a destruction of the spirit rather than the body. We are called to value other people in the same way that God does. Maybe, if we treat each other with kindness, like those Liberty Mutual commercials, the world would be a better place. Maybe by adding a little love, we can counteract the hate and violence that seems to be rampant.

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