“Find people interesting”
Strange advice, but I know I gravitate toward some personalities, while others slip below my radar.
The advice is from a book by John Piper called Finally Alive, and is followed by a quote from C.S. Lewis:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” –C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p. 14–15)
You might not agree with the worldview that informed Lewis’ understanding, but the logic is impeccable: If you believe human life continues in some coherent form beyond the assumed 80-odd years and into Eternity, there are no unimportant people. Each and every person you see today–behind the checkout, on the road, at the office, veiled by familiarity or obscured by anonymity–is significant.
The Bible anchors this significance to our image-bearing nature; And it is God’s image with whom we are stamped: His portrait and His inscription. We reason, create, value, relate. This resemblance is tarnished in every aspect, yet it remains, pitted and stained, but legal tender nonetheless.
Our culture, having ejected this truth, searches for another ground for our worth. It finds it not in what we are, but in what we do. Life in this picture is the game of rolling your coin down its byways, seeing what accumulates on its surface: toys, degrees, influence, people and experiences. Those with the coolest coating are the winners.
A few months back Tara and I attended a parents meeting for Elisha’s kindy. The discussion at one point revolved around the topic of how to warmly integrate a child who has a mental disorder. It seemed that many parents were at pains to affirm the child’s equality, but stumbled for a way of expressing this without denying the fact of his difficulty, which was the very reason for the discussion. How I wished someone, me?, would say: “God is pretty keen on kids, regardless of what they can and can’t do: He made them, and calls us to love them in the same way.”
What a relief that our dignity and worth are inalienably assured by God.