One of the most profound pieces of advice while I was doing Title IX advocacy work is to reject the idea that you need to find value in the people you’re advocating for. By this, my supervisors meant that it can be more harmful than helpful to use the “this person could be your mother, your sister, your child” thought process. While it helps us to activate our empathy, it also opens up a lot of doors -- what if this person doesn’t remind me of anyone in my life? What if I don’t agree with their life choices? What if I feel like this person is genuinely, deeply, truly different from myself, in every possible way? Ultimately, people deserve care, help, and support, regardless of how I see them.
There are so many judgments that pop up in my head that I wasn’t even aware of, until I was challenged to disrupt them. I am constantly placing myself at the center of the world, and mistakenly believe that I have the power to determine if others are worthy of being in that world with me.
As I think about the concept of being “one body of Christ”, I consider how I create false separations between myself and others. How I try to find value in others based on their purpose to me. How my social media is saturated with videos of disabled folks doing things that are meant to inspire me. How I tell my students that they’re smart in spite of their lower grades, when really the grades I give them don’t actually determine their intelligence one way or another. How the person behind the counter who messed up my order deserves kindness and a tip regardless.
It is challenging for me to see everyone as deserving of care, simply because they are. Not because they provide me a service, or a good feeling, or care, or a sense of familiarity. But because God loves them just as He loves me, with all my imperfections. Not because they could be my mother, sister, child, but because we are the same, one body, whether I accept it or not -- that’s what I’m trying to remind myself this season, when I think of truly being one body of Christ.
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.