I’ve been watching the Chilean mine rescue off and on all day (and watched the first two miners brought up last night). It occurred to me today that what I am watching is a (welcome) reminder of our common humanity.
As I, and many others (if my facebook feed is any indication), have watched the rescue live on TV or internet feed, I’ve been overwhelmed with the emotion and raw joy of seeing these men come back into the world. They are being “reborn” in a way. I cannot imagine that 17 days with no human contact, and 69 total days underground, could leave any of them unchanged. I praise God that they appear to be in remarkably good health and spirits. These 33 men have clung to sanity, and many of them seem to have clung to faith, as well. The T-shirts that most of the men I’ve watched are wearing as they come out are emblazoned with thanks to God, and the name of Jesus. (I’m not an expert on Spanish, but I’m pretty sure that’s what they say.)
What this reminded me of is how petty we can all be at times. Yes, even Christians. We squabble about our national politics, what to do with the influx of immigrants that some don’t want to be here, and other things that are so focused on this country. Don’t misunderstand me. There is a place for discussion and debate about how to correctly govern our country, and I am grateful for this land, and how easy (compared to so many) I have it here. The point is that much of what we do is not really debate, it is shouting at each other with neither side listening.
In times of crisis, we suddenly remember the value of a human being. We root for these men we’ve never met, in a country most of us will never visit. Joy and I both had tears in our eyes watching the exuberance with which the men returned to the surface. It reminded you how special it is to be alive, and how absolutely valuable each life is. How much did this cost? Who cares! While I’m sure that Chile is somewhat concerned about how much it costs, and who should pay, that is a secondary concern. The question is not asked to call the effort into question, but generally to suggest that the mining company with the shoddy accident record should pay, not the government.
I have two main things I want to take from this event (an event I hope will stay with me for a long time). First, my life is valuable and precious. I may not be likely to be trapped in a mine anytime in my life, but I am not guaranteed any more time with my family than these miners were. I should relish and value every moment.
The second important thing is actually more important to me, because I so easily forget it. If the life of a miner in a far off country is this valuable in my opinion, than even more so is the life of every person I meet in my life valuable. I cannot devalue someone, even my “enemies”, without devaluing my own life. If you disagree with you about politics, theology, or your favorite sports team, so what? To devalue you in my own mind, or worse, with my words and actions, is inexcusable. Every person I meet is an incredibly valuable creation of God, and must be valued as such.
I need to stop yelling at people, but I also need to stop being defensive. If God can show me His Truth, He wants to do the same for you. Maybe He already has, and is trying to use you to show me Truth, if only I would listen. All I ask is that you offer me the same courtesy. Maybe God is trying to show you Truth through me, as hard as that might be for either of us to believe. God loves and values all of His creations, I must do likewise if I want to model Him to a hurt and broken world full of hurt and broken people who need to be in a relationship with Him more than these miners needed to be rescued. May I always remember to value each person I meet the way that God does!