Jesus once told a story in which the hero was a vile Samaritan (Luke 10). This would be the equivalent of me telling a story with a Taliban Nazi being the hero. His hero is possibly the worse choice possible – the Samaritans were hated. Why would he do this?
If you ever watch an old war movie, you’ll notice that the soldiers never refer to their enemies by their proper names. In World War II, the enemies were “Krauts” and “Japs”. In The Korean War, the enemies were “Commies”. In Vietnam, the enemies were “Gooks”. Why would they do this?
Across town, on the other side of the tracks, (name your place)tucky. We have ways to talk about places where people who are different than us live. Usually these places are given derogatory titles. Why do we do this?
When we have people who are different than us and those who are considered our enemies in our lives, we look for ways to dehumanize them. We call them names other than their name. We say they’re from a place that fails to meet up to our standards. We do everything we can to make them less than human.
When Jesus tells the story of a Samaritan being a hero, he forces his readers to value this Samaritan man as a human being.
Who are you dehumanizing? Who do you need to see as a human being?