Seeing in the stranger a gifted person and ‘a gift for me’ makes dignity possible and holds others in great value.
“Human beings not for sale” brings to mind the strange and sad history that accompanied humanity from early times; the broken condition in which one took power from the other by degrading their living conditions and denying them the same rights and opportunities as others. Failure to respect the dignity of other human beings makes them appear as objects; as something that has a value, but a value related to financial and commercial purposes, which might result in exploitation. With this view of other human beings the community is no longer complete.
The image of God works as lenses that once and again help to restore the value of people but it also sets in struggles. These are struggles and fights to alleviate the condition of human beings who are treated as non-humans (bruta animalia or infidels) in view of their legal, religious, socio-anthropological, philosophical, political and economic, aspects. But fights can be beautiful; it is beautiful when people whose rights were suppressed learn how to rise above suppression and fight for their own rights hand-in-hand with others.
All efforts to secure abundant life are sacred. It does not mean having all but the necessary basics to serve others. This is the beauty of living in grace, to share from what is received; be in contact and promote healing communities, engage in networks that nourish trust and free from phobia. As human beings we are far from being holy. But community gives us the opportunity to belong and to continue following life that is preached in liberating words and actions. In community we have the gift to contribute to the many values that affirm life. One of them is being deeply sensitive and respectful. It is seeing in the stranger a gifted person, a gift for me. That is what makes dignity possible; that is what upholds other beings in great value.
by Rev. Dr Patricia Cuyatti, LWF secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean