I’ve been thinking on something recently; and that something is the tendency of humans to either put other humans on pedestals, or else so far in the dirt as to not warrant a second thought. We tend to bestow some kind of odd sainthood on some, whilst having extreme negative feelings toward others. I believe that we should aim for a realistic balance.
There are people that we like, that we love…and sometimes we can put them up on a pedestal. There are people that we somehow believe don’t struggle with this earthly life like everyone else. These thoughts can, and do, cause problems. First, the person up on the pedestal can get rather tired of it. Secondly, if we put someone up on the pedestal, that means they can fall off, instead of letting them be on even ground like everyone else…we humans have enough trouble maintaining our balance as it is (even on our knees sometimes). Adding the extra burden unrealistic expectations on someone isn’t a good idea. It’s also got to get really tempting to jump off that pedestal.
Also, those people that we seem to think don’t have problems and struggles in life are sometimes neglected because we all expect them to be the strong ones. Let’s face it; every human is a sinner, everyone has troubles, everyone needs friends, everyone need someone to talk things over with. We are all hurtling around the sun on the same ball of mud as everyone else, and life is life. We are all in desperate need of Christ, and even when we become a part of The Church, even when we become believers, we are still human beings, and in fact that joining of The Church should be something special indeed betwixt all our brothers and sisters. We believers need to make sure we are there for each other.
The danger in painting someone as “perfect” in our own minds is that no one is perfect except Christ. Therefore, all humans will disappoint us at some point. That’s not a pessimistic statement at all, just a statement of fact. Even if it is something small, we do disappoint others. People in those phases of infatuated love often think the object of that infatuation is perfect…then it really hits the fan when they find out they are not. Kids often have an idealistic version of “parents” in their heads and it can be a punch in the gut when they finally figure out their parents are just as human as everyone else. Same thing goes with parents and their view of their own kids.
On the flip side, we sometimes view someone we dislike or are mad at as something other than human. The truth it, that person is in the image of God, just as we are. They are going to face the same types of things in this life as us (like death and taxes…and life and taxes). We mentally throw mud on others, when it might do us good to remember their humanity. And, yes, I’m talking to myself here too; I tend to do the exact same thing, and it would be very hard to change.
I think it is interesting that when someone does something truly heinous, we often term it “inhuman.” The scary thing is that it is indeed human. Sometimes we don’t like to face human faults because it reminds us of our own…or, rather, it reminds us of what humans are actually capable of. It adds a lot of meaning to the phrase, “There but for the grace of God…” or for the smaller things we should actually be able to connect with the person, because we’ve all sinned. I guess the thing to remember is that there is a person involved in those heinous events…not “only” demons or Satan, but a willing flesh and blood human is indeed involved.
We are human beings, and being human means we are all sinners and we will all have our faults. We will all sin, without Christ, we are all deserving of judgment. We are all also made in the image of God…each one of us. Elevating people to “angel” status, or shoving them in a pit to “demon” status robs them of the fact that we all have to face; we are a bunch of humans dealing with a bunch of other humans. Praise God, He’s above all things, and still deals with us too…or else we’d really be screwed. I also praise Him because when He does the elevating, He holds us up in His hand and He begins to change us and work on us…it’s the only way any of us have a chance.
“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.” – CS Lewis, Prince Caspian