On Suffering

The past Sunday I preached on suffering, specifically the suffering caused by oppression from those who have power in this world. In the scripture, Pharaoh dehumanizes the Israelites and uses it to oppress and then enslave the people of God. The sad reality of today is that we are witnessing the same dehumanization through our language when we speak about the other. Our world is sorting itself - we are arranging ourselves into political, religious, racial, and communal tribes - while at the same time dehumanizing language is on the rise. Scholar Brene Brown has this to say about dehumanization,

“Dehumanization is the process by which we become accepting of violations against human nature, the human spirit, and, for many of us, violations against the central tenets of our faith. There is a line. It’s etched from dignity. We must never tolerate dehumanization—the primary instrument of violence that has been used in every genocide recorded throughout history and make atrocities like slavery, torture, an human trafficking possible.”

This is the time for the church to shine because we can be a beacon of light of love, kindness, and hope. In our interactions with people we can loving call to account those who dehumanize the other. It does not matter how righteous the cause is: if we belittle another person we are in the wrong. We need to learn to be able to engage people with differing viewpoints without villainizing those with whom we disagree. How will you engage in conversations week with people of diverse viewpoints?