Our alien dignity - Hope 103.2

Our alien dignity

By David ReayTuesday 29 Aug 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Psalm 139:14

14                 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
                         Wonderful are your works;
                     that I know very well. (NRSV)

There is a wise saying that goes something like this: “We love things and use people, whereas we ought to love people and use things.”

In our ego-centred lives and self-assertive society, we can easily see others as means to an end. A man pursues a woman not because of the woman herself but for the sexual satisfaction she promises him. A woman gets close to another woman not in order to form a deep friendship but to advance a career. A church leader gets chummy with a parishioner not because he truly cares for him but because he really does care about the wealth he may be able to share with the church.

We were made for more than this. As the psalmist reminds us we are God’s wonderful creation. How dare anyone treat us merely as a means to their own self-absorbed ends! Of course others do favours for us and give us pleasure or whatever else we seek. But given our alien dignity as God’s creation, we are not to relate to others primarily to get such favours or pleasures. They come as by-products of the relationship rather than being the reason for the relationship.

Each of us is a masterpiece of God. When he made us, he finished his created work. He couldn’t top that! To value people purely for their function is to demean them and rob them of the dignity they have as God’s creation. Let’s be thankful for what others can do for us. Let’s be even more thankful for who those people are in themselves.

David Reay