People, not objects

I'll start by telling you guys about Pedro. We met him at the park yesterday, and he had some pretty atypical religious views, like a melting pot of gnosticism, Christianity, and mysticism. His basic point was that you can't know about God by learning in the usual methods, can't learn a thing about God from the Bible (though the Bible is a good book, it's flawed, and can only make you hungry for "real knowledge"). You can only know God through the incarnation of God that is currently on earth (in other words, Jesus isn't unique), by this man teaching you God's NAME, and then you will KNOW God and SEE God. He couldn't really tell us who had taught him, or if he even knew. I mean, he's not entirely fluent in English, but he was good enough for me to be able to tell when he was avoiding pertinant questions.

(As a sidenote, I'd like to say that I was very happy with how the conversation went. None of us got angry or defensive, just curious and inquisitive, and maybe a little passionate. :) But also, none of us were threatened by this conversation, which, looking back on my life, is saying a lot. I can trust in what I've learned, in what I know. No one is beyond the reach of the Gospel, but it's not my job to convince anyone of anything. I love, I listen, I ask, and I share when there are appropriate opportunities. No pressure is necessary.)

Anyway, I have this man in the back of my mind now and I'm praying for him. Earlier, I was also thinking about one of my friends in the States, whom I haveto admit, I still don't really know all that well. I forget that sometimes about people I meet when I fill in the blanks by myself. I thought of what my friend Daniel said, how it's bad to make objects out of people. People are not objects or flat characters in the play called my life. They have big lives of their own with a history and lots of other people that they love (or sometimes hate) and reasons for being who they are, complete with emotions, thoughts, and convictions. And even more basic, but still forgettable, people don't just exist when I see them; they exist even when I haven't heard anything about them in years - doing things, changing.

Then I started reading Colossians and saw how Jesus has a big life too - the image of God, the fulness of deity, the head of the Church, our Redeemer... and I'm thinking, how could I ever limit this person, God himself, to being a baby in a manger? A dying man on a cross? Even an empty tomb? All of these things are a part of who he was, who he is, but to think that's all is to be very foolish indeed.

So what I'm trying to say is, in order to really know anyone you have to be willing to admit that there are many things you don't know about them and be willing to learn those things with time, respect, and understanding. This is one way we can be compassionate. And the same, to an extent, is applied to our relationship with God - willing to admit there are things we don't know, willing to learn more, willing to understand. This is respect. And how are we to be renewed in his likeness if we never find out how and why he feels and acts the way he does? Little by little, we get to know someone. And if we desire, little by little, we become like someone. May my desire always be to become like Christ.

No comments: