Humans First

Dear One,

Have you ever inserted yourself into a story … wondered what you would do / what role you would play if you had been there? Me and my active imagination do this, and for the past week the story has been that of George Floyd’s death.

In my mind’s eye, Mr. Floyd is pinned on the ground and I am one of the bystanders.

Finding it futile to fight the officers, I lay myself down opposite this man and turn my face toward him as to look his suffering smack in the eye. 

There’s no turning away.

I ask his name because he has one and it matters. If I cannot save him, I want George Floyd to die being recognized not as a black man, a suspect, or a threat, but a fellow human being. I want to afford him this dignity.

These days I keep saying his name, telling him he deserved to be treated as a human, apologizing that he wasn’t. 

This is what stays in me – that we’re to treat each other as humans first and foremost – not as objects to be feared, controlled, labeled, discarded.

Jesus did this time and again. He gave people their humanity & the dignity that comes with it. 

  • The adulteress was not sin for stoning. 
  • The demon-possessed, not fear for controlling.
  • The prostitute was not dirt for dismissing.
  • The woman at the well, not shame for shunning.
  • The blind man was not bother for bypassing.
  • The children, not nuisance for shooing. 
  • The leper, not contagion for confining.
  • The beggar, not need for pitying.

Humans first. Humans, all.
Not problems to be solved.
Not enemies to be conquered.
Not sin to be shamed or silenced or shunned.

Like you. Like me. Like Mr. George Floyd.

I don’t want to see you first as your:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender identification

I don’t want to see you first as your:

  • Behavior
  • Lifestyle
  • Financial status
  • Belief system
  • Political leaning

I don’t want to see you first as your:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Need
  • Sin
  • Failure
  • Success

I want to see you first as a human.
Humans first.

Friend, may we search for humanity in the ‘other,’ whoever the other may be. May we use our voices to call one another’s names. To call out the humanity that lies within, as Jesus did Zaccheus. 

We are, all of us, humans first: Our Little Life Words of the Week.


  • In whom do you need to recognize humanity?
  • Is there any person or people group whose voice you could help amplify?


  • The disciple Peter once cut off a soldier’s ear in protest. Jesus (who would die at the hands of these men) put it back. This week, give someone their humanity instead of taking it away. 
  • Watch the movie: Same Kind of Different as Me. Pay attention to the theme of ‘names’ and the ways in which the characters look for humanity in the ‘other.’


  • For our song of the week I invite you to listen to the heart of this man’s cry in: Letter to the Future by You I Am. 


  • Ask God to help us, in the U.S. and around the world, to see and call out the humanity in one another. Seek His forgiveness for when we do the opposite. 

Friend, this is crazy hard but we will not heal if we keep finding ways to dehumanize or diminish the ‘other’ in order to protect our own sense of safety, security or superiority. God give us courage for the living of these days.

This entry was posted in Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.