Trials can often highlight our own errors.
Recently God gifted me with a trial such as that. I won’t go in to all that transpired–suffice to say I was given a mirror and the reflection that shone back at me was none too pretty.
And as it usually goes, before I was blessed with the reflection of reality, God first took a chisel to me in the form of a trial and it was painful.
And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was belted with a linen ephod. So David danced and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the horn.
As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.
And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, ‘How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!’
And David said to Michal, ‘It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD–and I will make merry before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes; but by the maids of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.’
Imagine gazing into a mirror and seeing Michal.
Oh, how sad I was to see my ugliness; how ashamed to know that I was being so superficial. To not have my first look in another’s direction be saturated with LOVE was a terrible realization.
That’s what I saw. So many times I’ve condemned others–thought people less than me, thought myself more righteous. So many times I’ve thrown someone’s humanity out the window and reduced them to an object.
The word “objectify” seems like it’s been overused in our day, but I think we’ve actually just forgotten what it means in practice. When I look at someone and don’t see who they are–I’ve objectified them. In my eyes, they might as well be a toy doll, because if I’m judging them by anything other than WHO THEY ARE, then I’m objectifying them. And who are they? Children of God made in His image.
It’s so difficult to move away from the Puritan influence of our culture here in America, but I have to remember that when God first created the world He said it was good, and when he created man He said it was very good. I must look at God’s creation and see the goodness in everything and everyone. First and foremost we are called to love–and I really do believe that it is love that will bring people to Christ. How could judgment, criticizing, disdain and self-righteousness bring anyone to Christ? And then, on top of that, the fact that my judgments were based on standards I had created, what I thought was right–it’s a big jump from wanting someone to be virtuous to then saying they should be virtuous and exemplify it in this way that I decide.
The temptation to slide into creating rules and standards outside of what God has put into place is so strong. How subtle pride can be that I actually find myself adding on to what God has commanded! “Nice work God; I see where you’re going, let me step in here to create some more rules for these folks.” Yikes. I am so very thankful that God is so merciful, otherwise He would have put me in my place long ago and it wouldn’t have been pleasant.
My job is to love everyone. Only then can God use me in His great work of salvation.
Reading that helped to serve as my mirror: CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce, a series of posts about thingifying people by Calah Alexander