My friend was objectifying groups of people to be this or that without having any experience with any specific people in those group. I told him that he sounded like a cable news analyst and after that we decided it was probably best for our friendship that we change the subject 🙂
I spent many days after that conversation replaying it in my mind. Was I angry because we disagreed or because I sensed ungodly behavior/speaking coming from my friend? I wasn’t sure.
I came across a quote from the book Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott, a book I read a month ago. The quote is from a friend of hers, who she quotes early in the book.
“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do.”
My first reaction to reading that was:
“See!!! I knew my friend was being a jerk! He was doing this very thing.”
But I quickly realized…
“Dang, I do the same thing all the time…”
The problem with the conversation I was having with my friend, wasn’t me, it wasn’t him, it was the problem of the human condition. I’d define the human condition as our incessant need to prop ourselves up over others at any cost.
In a very real way we make ourselves like God, or make God in our own image in all the ways we think ourselves “right” or “better” than those around us.
It’s easy for us to objectify people around us as being this or that, it’s a lot more difficult to engage in loving our neighbor. It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t say…”love your neighbor, but the annoying and arrogant guy down the street, you can skip over him.”
I prefer to read the “neighbor” generously and in our world, I do believer our neighbor is just about everyone.
Want to overcome the human condition to put yourself over others?