So those of us working in Lutheran learning communities aim to be inclusive, caring, respectful individuals (most of the time) right? I guess I do, until I dig a bit deeper. There’s no ‘us’ and ‘them’ is there? Well except those people who are really annoying, or those people who don’t think like me or like the same things as me or those people who do disgusting things or….
Maybe I am not so inclusive as I think I am. The other night I was watching an episode of a series on Netflix and was very stirred by the story line. The episode is set in the not too distant future where the army is working for the ‘good of the community’ to rid the community of ‘roaches’. These ‘roaches’ apparently are not really human, carry diseases and defects and need to be eradicated for ‘the good of all’. The soldiers are provided with an implant which assists them in their roles regarding logistics, accuracy with weapons, personal well-being etc. It all seems very helpful, until one of the soldier’s implant starts to malfunction. Amongst other thing he now sees the ‘roaches’ as how they really are, humans just like him. He realizes that the software made the eradication process much easier when they didn’t look human, like him.
I could make strong connections with language being used to dehumanize groups of people and actions taken by leaders to keep ‘them’ out or remove these ‘others’, ‘for the good of all’ which fueled my sense of injustice.
However, I needed to get my focus back on how I ‘see’ others. Who do I walk past and ignore, who do I fail to invite into my group of friends, which student or parent or teacher or leader, do I find impossible, who do I say less than loving words about, who gets my positive attention?
Love doesn’t discriminate. Jesus showed us that! And thank God that the same ‘criteria’ for being loved that I use knowingly and unknowingly, is not the same criteria God uses for me. I can never be good enough or bad enough for God to love or not love me. Not only that but God provides the Holy Spirit to work in me to help me to see the loved, valued ‘child of God’ in every person, a bit like that ‘software implant’ from the Netflix episode in reverse.
“…Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.” Colossians 11:3 The Message
Educational Leadership Director