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Did you know that even identical twins are not identical? Each human being is one of a kind. God made each of us unique. He knows us individually and He sees us as special. God does not lump us in groups, yet society is fixated on doing so. Everyone gets stuffed into some categorical group. What group are you in? Seeing everyone as part of a group rather than as an individual leads to dehumanization. Are you dehumanizing others? Find out…please read more.
Scientists know that even though identical twins are born with the same DNA, they use that DNA in different ways. For example, identical twins can be different heights, they have different fingerprints, and it is possible that one twin might be same sex attracted and the other one opposite sex attracted. Although similar, they really are unique.
Epigenetics is one of the more fascinating fields of life science. Epigenetics is the study of how behavior and environment can cause changes that affect the way genes work. Even though twins have the same DNA, their DNA changes in response to things like sunlight or the food they eat. Both can damage and alter their DNA. The bottom line is that no two people are truly identical.
Dehumanization occurs when we fail to see everyone as a member of God’s family and instead we define and separate them into groups based on certain specific traits. Dehumanization seeks to portray someone in a way that obscures that person’s true humanity and individuality. It denies a person’s full humanness. People are divided into groups based only on one facet of who they really are. Dividing people into groups leads to an us versus them mentality.
There really is only one group and we all belong to it. We are all children of God. We are not merely members of some social group. We are individuals who are made up of millions of individualized traits, feelings, emotions, experiences, and unique characteristics.
Which of the following groups are you a member of? Are you: Catholic or Protestant, liberal or conservative, black or white, homosexual or heterosexual, socialist or capitalist, legal citizen or illegal immigrant, vaccinated or unvaccinated, male or female, Muslim or Jew, Republican or Democrat, vegan or meat eater, athletic or non-athletic, urban or rural dweller, northerner or southerner, college educated or non-college educated, upper class, middle class or lower class, country music or non-country music lover, feminist or female traditionist, religious or non-religious, outgoing or introverted, clean shaven or bearded, ordained or layperson, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera? This list could go on forever.
My friends, you are none of the above. None of those terms adequately describes who you and me are. A person’s life experiences does not define their identity, nor does their sexual orientation nor does any one of the choices you made in the long list above.
God desires all mankind to be united as one church of believers following Jesus Christ. The world seeks to distinguish and separate us. When separated we oppose one another. When we are opposed, we are divided. And when we are divided, we are easily conquered by the evil one who is the source of all division.
There are three characteristics that we all have in common. We are all united by these facts:
- We are all children of God.
- We are all sinners.
- Christ died for all who believe in Him.
As sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited their propensity to sin. God looks on us, even with all of our brokenness, with love; our sins and brokenness do not disqualify us from His love. Society segregates people by their unique traits and by their specific types of behaviors. People are frequently disqualified from specific social settings based on their unique attributes.
We need to stop seeing each other as members of groups and instead see each other as children of one God. Each of us, due to our unique sins and/or brokenness, will occasionally fall into the ditch that runs along the road of life. If we see others lying in the ditch, and we define them by which group they are in, we will likely leave them in the ditch when we discover that they are not in our group. If others see us in the ditch, and define us by whichever group they perceive us to belong to, they will likely leave us in the ditch as well.
We all need to learn to see each person as a fellow sojourner, trudging and stumbling their way down the road of life. When we do, we will be more likely to stop like the Good Samaritan described in Luke 10:30-37 and help them to heal, recover and get back on their journey.
1 Corinthians 12: 25-30 tells us that we make up the Body of Christ. Like a human body, there can be no division. All of the parts must have a common concern for every other part. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it. Each part, though unique, has a designated place in the overall body. The same is true for all of us who make up the human family. We are unique but we are all God’s children. As His children, let’s make a concerted effort to care for each other and let’s put an end to the division and dehumanization caused by lumping people into groups.
Heavenly Father, help me to see everyone as my brother or sister and help me to see past those things that cause division. Help me to love like you do. Grant me the courage to reach out my hand to those who are in need, especially those who are different than me. Amen!
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
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Enjoyed your article and perspective. Here is a Link that you might find helpful, I did
His Blessings to you and yours
Oh my goodness! How applicable this is to the world we live in today! Thank you so much for reminding us how we should be living and treating people who may not share our beliefs.
Brian, I agree that we are all individuals and need to be treated and respected as such. However, your message seems to be written in an either/or way. as if we are either individuals or we are members of groups. I believe it is both/and. We are both individuals and members of groups. When we ignore group membership, we can deny important characteristics. For example, if we ignore black and white, we fail to recognize the struggle that comes with being black and the privilege that comes with being white in our racist society. Fr. Brian Massingale does a great job in explaining that in “Racial Justice and the Catholic Church.” God Bless you, your family, and your ministry.