People as Objects

The thought has been ruminating in my mind for a while,  why we treat people the way we do, and fail to love them like we should?

Animals, unless one is defending their right as leader, are usually kind to one another, loving, and loyal. There are none ostracized from the group, none cut off from food, none hated for being inferior. But the weaker are loved, and cherished, like a mother feeding her babies.

Our race does no such thing. We are full of divisions and racism. Now racism does not apply only to one’s color, for whites hate whites, Asians hate Asians, and blacks hate blacks. Brothers hate brothers, mothers loathe husbands, children rebel against those who gave them being, and so on.

We commit crimes by doing justice “in the name of the people”, by saying the one that is right is the one that has the loudest mouth and the most supporters. In this we fail miserably at understanding that truth is a solid object, and it is the duty of the judging to find truth, not convince of opinion. After all, Hitler convinced his Germans in the 1930’s that he was the one they should follow, and millions of people–sane, thinking, religious, and well-educated–followed him through his brilliant triumphs and ultimately to the pit of his hellish end.

Alexander the Great had one of his greatest friends,  Philotas and his father Parmenio (who was also Alexander’s best general and counselor)  killed by the consent of his other counselors on a count of conspiracy, which could not be proven in the least. It was “rule by the people”, and the truth lay in the group.

Alexander the Great with his teacher, Aristotle

Humans make miserable friends, miserable comforters, and miserable judges.

And this brings out the point to be made here, a major symptom that humans have yet fail to recognize.

The reason why we do not love each other and treat each other as we deserve, is seen in greed, hate, envy, pride, lust, fear, anxiety, and so on. But at the root, our problem seems to be selfishness. Read on. Take a car for example. What a great servant we have in a car: it takes little care, only a small amount of money to maintain (similar to keeping horses, for example), yet we work it far worse than any work-horse. For the natural man a car is the best of friends: it has no emotions, no retaliation, it simply does it’s job and cares not if used or forgotten or not used.

A dog is also a great friend, because it gives its love and kindness at every opportunity, yet only demands food and water (maybe even a walk, in our crowded cities).

What separates this from people is the lack of reciprocity. We live to take all we can get without giving anything in return. And in return, we treat all those of our race as objects, keeping us selfish.

1. Children:

In today’s American culture you can put your child in a Day Care as early as 2 months. There children change “moms” every few hours and soon are thoroughly confused. Then the “education” begins at the Day Care and the child is taught a curriculum, as if he was already in 1rst grade. The child learns to love their teacher more than their own mother (believe me, I worked at a Day Care for a couple of years). A child usually spends not much more than 10 minutes of “quality time” with their parents per day, from what I have read. Let’s get this straight, a kid needs quantity time, and that leads to quality time. Parents say, “Oh, we spend quality time together, to make up for quantity time”. Quality time comes out of a large quantity of time. Stop cheating your kid!

After this the child literally stays in school from 2 months up until his 22nd (if they are lucky!) birthday. Learning comes from the various teachers, no wonder children/youth can’t understand their parent’s standards! Rebellion is the obvious outcome.

You shall teach [God’s standards] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 6:7)

We treat children like little objects that are in our way, annoying pests taking away the serenity and hard-work of “adults”. We would rather make more money and spend time with adults than have to “lower” our standards to be children. I feel so sorry for the majority of American children–you reap what you sow, and I am afraid to stay in America much longer.

2. Friends:

Why do you take a friend out to eat? And pay for a nice meal? Or buy them a good, expensive gift?

Part of the answer: so they might do the same. This is not entirely wrong, but the problem is when it consumes us. To use friends as “tools” to getting jobs, cheap deals, places to stay on trips, etc. It is like we have our little list of friends that ensure a peaceful life for me. They come to help me when I am bored, to listen to me when I have problems.

Have you ever noticed how much people like to talk about themselves. If someone could handle it, we could probably talk about ourselves, our problems, our successes, our family, etc. until we fall over from exhaustion!

The problem is that this is not really a friend, it is an object. This is the kind of friend I have been expressing:

The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends […] Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. (Prov. 14:20; 19:6)

This is a true friend:

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity […] A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Prov. 17:17; 18:24)

3. Husband/Wife:

Many enter marriage thinking the person they are marrying will fulfill all of their. We all know how lacking we are, how restless we are, and marriage does have the ability to cure this problem. But it is incomplete. God said that a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and become one. I believe that implies that a person, alone, is only half of what he should be (this is not the case for all, some have been called to be single). This is proved by God who said:

It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen. 2:18)

As men and women, we desire completeness, relationship, and completeness. The problem is that we enter relationships thinking the other person will be the whole, and it is what we need. But we forget that they are thinking the same, we are what they need. It must be reciprocal and both parties must work to be what the other person needs.

This has been forgotten in America. Divorce is literally going through the roof because people realize that marriage is hard, and utterly humbling. People in America will not be humbled, so marriage is impossible. We will never meet a person (aside from Christ!) to satisfy the deep longing of our souls.

Men, when they are husbands, must imitate Christ:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

That is hard, hard, hard work. Christ died for his bride, that is the call to the husband: absolute surrender. You no longer belong to yourself but to you wife, and the same goes to the wife.

Opposite Sex:

One of the saddest outcomes, and most blatant form of selfishness that I can think of is our view of the opposite sex. Men look at women as objects of pleasure. Sexual objects, and not children of God. Men degrade women with their eyes and specifically their minds.

All men have this ability, innately, and it is as natural as is eating. Some people are so overcome (and we all should be!) at the control that pornography has on our male culture (it does include women as well). There are many good Christian books discussing this topic, including Every Young Man’s Battle by various authors or Not Even a Hint by Joshua Harris.

But the point we many times miss is that this problem is not at all new, as Solomon said,

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Eccl. 1:9)

Paul, Peter, and Christ, among many others, speak openly against lust, youthful passions, and David himself fell so far that no church would let him enter their congregation! Pornography is not new, because lust is not, and is not even a “bigger issue” than it used to be. It has always consumed males, only now it is more blatant (I hope you realize that I am in no way sanctioning any such activity, or making it right before God! This is a sin, and like every sin it must be cut out.).

The problem is that, for men, women are objects of pleasure, and God must convince them that they are sisters and beautiful children of the King! Each are cherished by God and most have one man for them to marry. Yet men act like they “own” all the women, in a sense.

But women are not “off the hook”. I have asked several of my friends and found that women struggle with lust just like men, and seeing men as this far off object. Men become “prince charming” and are seen as strong beings that can listen to a woman’s problems and be there to help them lift heavy things — “hunk”. They also have fantastical ideas about men.

A man’s mind runs off of their eyes. A woman’s mind runs off of their emotions.

You see, none of us are free from treating the opposite gender as objects.

Sick Cycle:

This all works in a circle though, and how we treat others comes back to haunt us! Treat your kid like an object to educate and have him leave without taking your money, and he will leave and never return. If you treat your wife/husband like an object to fulfill your desires and needs, you will find yourself lonelier and more dissatisfied with life than you had ever been. Treat a woman like an object, an object of pleasure, and you find that you have missed out on relationship (what we were built for) and only received vaporous, temporary pleasure.

The people we do this to are people! That’s repetitive, obviously, but the problem is that we think of people as meaning objects in it’s practical outcome, like a stove or a microwave would be. But people mean people, created in God’s image.

What about God?

[Do] you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (I Cor. 6:19-20)*

*By the way, the above verse is in context of sexual immorality, lust, and ungodly passion as seen in v. 18.

A lack of fulfillment, which is restlessness, is the heart of man’s greatest need. We were built for God, to worship Him, and live in communion with Him.

How many times do we treat God as a cosmic lottery machine, or a person that listens to us when things get tough (with no mouth), or takes the “heat” when he life afflicts us?

God, forgive us for treating our brothers and sisters, our race, as objects. In our selfishness we have forgotten we were made to give, to love, to enjoy living humbly. We are utterly restless in this life and we long for fulfillment that only you can give us. Give us more every day, and help us to seek relationship with you above all else.


7 thoughts on “People as Objects

Add yours

  1. True, and I can certainly identify with the issue. “He must increase, and I must decrease” is a lifelong process. Oh God, help me in the area of selfishness.

  2. I have looked but can’t find a wonderful excerpt from C S Lewis’ The Weight of Glory about seeing every person as the precious creature that God sees…wish you could read it!

  3. Absolutely, it is a prayer we must often make, especially for me.
    Aunt Martha, I have heard great things about that book, but have yet to own it. Hopefully I will be able to read it soon, right now I am working on “The Great Divorce” by him and then on to “The Problem of Pain”. But that is one of my favorite verses: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” that alludes I am sure to that book. Will have to put it on my list!

  4. My Uncle Leon used to pray that God would help us to use things and love people and not the other way around. Maybe he got that “phrasiology” from your dad? Anyhow it’s a prayer I’m glad I heard & I need to practice more.

    Your essay reminds me of Paul saying he had no one like Timothy who really cared about the things of Christ Jesus vs. just his own interests. Or John the Baptist saying he had to decrease. I really like your last thought on the essay…of what does it feel like to be God?

  5. “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person that you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly 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.” and “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations -these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But, it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.” -CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory

    Good thoughts, Chris!

    M & M in Seattle

  6. Thank you all for your comments! I really like that comment about “using things and loving people”. We love things, and treat them so well; yet we despise people! What is wrong with us?
    Thanks for finding that quote as well! Very powerful thoughts from Lewis. I am almost done reading his “The Great Divorce” and in it he puts faces to these glorious creatures, and it has been so awe-inspiring for me, and makes me worship God and wonder at the greatness of heaven. Some day we will be there with God, in perfection, and with us will be those whom we abused, cursed, hated, exploited, and looked-down on. Also those whom have treated us like dirt and expendable material.
    God help us to be like the one who became as close to nothing that we might become all! He was dirt under our feet, our Messiah, and we esteemed him not, but stricken and afflicted by you, O God!
    Like you said Andres, God help us in our misery.

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