I just recently finished teaching a Bible class at Broadmoor on Justice. Teaching is one of my true enjoyments because it provides an opportunity for me to dig into the text. The Justice class was a bit different for me. For the last 10-15 class, I have taught classes on a Biblical text, usually an Old Testament book (hopefully I’ll be posting some of those in the coming days). So, this was the first time I had taught on a subject in a while.
This class was beneficial for me, and there was plenty of good discussion in class. It forced me to think about things that I often overlook. One of the things that we considered in class is our view of other people.
The Biblical story shows that there is inherent value in people.
- People are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27).
- God’s law calls for justice and kindness for all people.
- God sent his Son to die on the cross in order to redeem all who are willing (John 3:16).
1 Sam. 16:7 fairly represents the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the inherent value of humanity or considering a person’s character, external matters are often esteemed.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
The world ranks and characterizes people based on appearance or social factors (physical appearance like height or beauty, race, skin color, wealth, social status, family, etc.) whereas God looks on the heart. The incessant ranking by society is what often leads to injustice. Those of “low” rank don’t deserve what the “important” people in society get. People are then disparaged, mistreated and dehumanized to push them further down the scale. Once this is accomplished, injustice becomes easier to commit. Consider Nazi atrocities against the Jews and American abuse of African American slaves. How did those in power characterize those they mistreated? It’s a sad and sobering history lesson to consider.
So, the real question is, “How do we characterize others?” Do we devalue Mexicans, illegal aliens, northerners, Democrats, Republicans, Duke fans, Hoosiers, non-English speakers, or any number of other groups?
Dear Lord, may we see others as you see them!