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Re-Humanization

I am fascinated by history and for a while I listened to a lot of history related podcasts.  I was listening to a podcast of life in the trenches in WWI, where the commentator mentioned men who were supposed enemies, whether French, British, or German, were loathed to bayonet each other.  I subsequently mentioned this to David Dally, who in previous employment had associations with the military.  David said, “Yes, in each war since  WWI, the military command has worked to dehumanize it’s combatants.”  Now we have soldiers who go to work each day, to enter a container loaded with screens monitoring high power cameras mounted on drones, who fire missiles at targets with indistinct faces.  Where am I going with this?  If we dehumanized people, we objectify them, we can work evil beyond our natural capacity to do harm.  Following Jesus’ arrest, Jesus had said to his arrestors,” this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns” (Lk 22:53).  Is the onset of darkness typified by dehumanization?  Is it seen in Peter’s denial of Jesus?  First Peter says, “I don’t even know him!” (Lk 22:57).  And culminates with him saying, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about” (Lk 22:60).  In the immediacy of the moment, Jesus had become an object. Peter was in survival mode.  The rooster crowed and “At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Lk 22:61).  Peter saw more than an object he saw into Jesus’ soul and at that moment Jesus humanized Peter.  It happened very fast; with the words, “Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind …  “And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly” (Lk 22:62).  We can only attack each other, malign each other, mock each other as we dehumanized each other.  After loving God, love your fellow human being, is the other critical commandment.  If we can remember our fellow human beings, no matter who or what they are, are noble creatures made in the image of God, the unlovely might be more lovable.  Loving the unlovely is easy to say but hard to do, especially when the unlovely are those close to us.  Jesus’ look humanizes us and helps expose our souls, as painful as that might be so that ultimately, we can find healing.  Sin dehumanizes us.  Jesus’ intent is that we would become fully human.  “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy” to dehumanize us.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (Jn 10:10) to make us whole and fully human. 

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