Genesis 1:26 – God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.”
Psalm 103:14 – for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
Word of Hope
Watching “Crash” for the sixth time, I wondered why the film continues to hit me so deeply. The same scenes make me cry, gasp, or cringe every time. And I believe it’s because there are no heroes in this movie. And no villains. No saints or sinners.
Someone who repulses me early on will break my heart with their kindness ten minutes later, while another I initially love will go on to shock me with their bigotry.
It leaves me with mixed feelings about everything and everyone involved. Because in its heightened form, “Crash” depicts life and humanity in all its complicated, raw, and beautiful complexity.
From algorithms and ads to opinions and comment sections, we are increasingly encouraged to view others through a binary filter – either good or bad, hero or villain, best or worst.
And social media in particular rewards us for doing so.
Determinations about another person’s worth are often made based on based upon one post, tweet, or moment; a single snapshot out of the thousands that make up the film reel of their life.
This mindset exacerbates our human tendency to view ourselves, and those with whom we agree, in our totality while reducing our view of others to a moment we can label.
But to make such binary judgments is to view another as incapable of redemption or impervious to acts of selfishness and cruelty.
We are far more than either our worst act or most noble moment. The gray area, where most all of us live, is one of nuance, complexity, and a context lacking in a 140 character assessment.
Until I began this devotional, I hadn’t realized how persistently Jesus refused to define others by an act or reduce them to a condition. The woman caught in adultery, the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, the woman at the well, the thief on the cross.
Jesus essentially told those around him, “You think you have them all figured out. You’ve categorized these people, pigeonholed them, and labeled them. But they’re far more than what you see. They are not events or conditions or acts. They are more than that.”
We are all more than that.
Most Loving God,
May we be slow to judgment as we consider the totality of others’ lives. May we remember that most of us are doing our best to be just a little better each day. Let us remain vigilant in our refusal to define others by their illness, misdeed, or station in life. Show us the bigger, more authentic picture of of others’ lives, as well as our own. We ask to see ourselves and others as You see us: children of God. And so it is. Amen.