People, not projects
By Kenya Smith
Jesus commanded His disciples to share the gospel to the world. There have been some awesome testimonies from people who gave their life to Christ because someone shared the gospel to them. Yet, there are people who have been hurt because, while the gospel was shared to them, they were treated not as a person but as a project.
When we treat people as projects, we can strip away their humanity. The Pharisees are a good example of this. They were only concerned about seeing that everyone kept the law, and they stripped away people’s humanity. They were the ones who brought forth an adulterous woman to Jesus and wanted him to punish her. They were the ones who griped at Jesus for eating with sinners. Even after Jesus’s resurrection, the Pharisees’ mentality still lingers to this present time.
For example, the senator who started the Red Scare, in which people were accused of being communists, was the same one who launched another witch-hunt known as the Lavender Scare. With the Lavender Scare, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) wanted to purge America of people who were confirmed or suspected as LGBTQ. This was due to the assumptions that gay people were medically, socially and structurally deviant.
These assumptions led people to consider gay people as national security risks. Many people, especially employees in the State Department, lost their jobs, and some even lost their lives because of this event. People were arrested, publically humiliated and sometimes institutionalized in mental hospitals.
One federal agent who participated in the witch-hunt said, “The people that I got rid of, they were f—. I didn’t give a hoot; get rid of the son of a b—. Put him in the bread line.” The Lavender Scare also led to conversion therapy. Some individuals underwent aversion therapy, which included injecting nausea-inducing medication or electric shocks in the hands or private area. Others underwent lobotomies, sterilizations, castrations and electroconvulsive therapy. While some of these therapy methods aren’t practiced anymore, conversion therapy is still being practiced today in various parts of the world, including America.
Jesus did the opposite. While he shared the Gospel, He also treated people as people. While He was perfect, He did not strip away people’s humanity nor made them feel inferior. For example, Jesus meets a tax collector named Zacchaeus. Back then, tax collectors were considered a nuisance because they would charge people more than what they actually owed and would take away property if a person failed to pay. When Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was in town, he climbed up a sycamore tree due to his short stature. Jesus called Zacchaeus by name and told him to come down, because He wanted to have a meal at his house. Amazed by the compassion, Zacchaeus decided to give back to the community what he had stolen. When you treat people as people when sharing the gospel, you are offering them freedom instead of more bondage.
Kenya Smith is a Suffolk native. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.