Faithfully yours - Seeing people through God's eyes


By Neil Strohschein

The Neepawa Banner

Last week, I identified some topics on which I will reflect in the weeks leading up to the October 19 federal election. In these reflections, I will offer some thoughts on the improvements we need to see in Canada if it is to become a country in which we are proud to live.

Over the past few years, we have seen a marked decrease in the level of respect some Canadians display in their interactions with others. I see this in three areas—in our respect for life, respect for authority and respect for human rights. Today’s column deals with my first area of concern.

Respect for human life is the foundation upon which a just society is built. To properly show this respect, we must learn to see people as God sees them.

King David (Psalm 139:13-15) has much to say on this topic. He notes that all people on earth share one thing in common. We are all “fearfully and wonderfully made by God.” From the moment we were first conceived in the minds of our parents (before we were conceived in the wombs of our mothers), every one of us was known by God, loved by God and destined by God to become a contributing member of human society.

This makes every person on earth a person of infinite value in God’s eyes and as such, a person who should be treated with dignity and respect. How do we do this?

First, by protecting the innocent and vulnerable in society. Just laws alone (even with clear regulations to enforce them) can not adequately protect our children from predators. They can not prevent exploitation and abuse of the elderly. Nor can they adequately deter people from discriminating against those who are suffering from some form of mental or physical handicap.

Laws can (and must) identify criminal acts against the innocent and vulnerable. They must also specify the consequences those who commit these acts must suffer. They need to be as stiff as possible, they need to be applied equally to all people and the loopholes that let an offender get off scot-free need to be plugged. We need to send a strong message to every resident of Canada—that there is no excuse for these acts and that as a “just society,” we will come down hard on those who abuse the innocent and vulnerable among us.

But we must also use the power of the classroom and the pulpit to show children, youth and adults how to treat everyone they meet with dignity and respect. An ounce of education can do more good than a thousands in fines, years in jail or a life time of restrictions.

Second, we reflect dignity and respect by creating an environment in which all people (especially those who are physically and mentally challenged) can achieve their full potential.

To do this, we must offer an adequately funded, high quality system of primary, secondary and post-secondary education that is available to all and, in the case of post-secondary education, affordable by all. Sufficient flexibility must be built into the system so that it can be tailored to the interests and strengths of each student. An investment in quality education is an investment in a society in which we all can help build a better country and a better world.

As we do these things, we will be blessed by the one who created us in his image and who reminds us that whatever we do for one of the least of his creation, we do for him.