I’ll never forget reading about the Japanese prison camps during WW2 in the book, Unbroken.

The Japanese government used propaganda that was filled with harsh rhetoric and prejudiced language to describe Anglo-Saxons, calling them “devils and sub-human beasts.”

Several Japanese officers were charged with some of the worst war crimes of WW2.

This language of racism, hatred, and fear was a gateway to commit rape, starve prisoners, and enact daily beatings.

When we diminish the dignity of our enemies and rob them of their humanity, there is no boundary we will not cross, no evil we will not commit.

The Imago Dei is being threatened in America.

The language we use to describe our political opponents today can quickly lead to depraved actions tomorrow.

Those who ransacked the Capitol are the most apparent example.

How did the Trump presidency culminate in a coup performed by men dressed in combat gear waving flags saying, “Trump these b*tches?”

There were multiple factors, but seeing their fellow Americans as “enemies” to “fight” is at the top of the list.

It’s easy to connect the dots of dehumanization with this example.

But what about when it comes to our own hearts?

When others dehumanize, our natural instinct is to inflict the same wound.

Depravity is contagious.

We should all be sobered by our fleshly impulses and aware of their power over us during times of upheaval.

I recall a story in the Gospel of Luke.

A Samaritan village refused to welcome Jesus.

The disciples asked if they could call down fire on the village.

Jesus rebuked them.

We are most prone to self-righteousness when we are wronged.

It’s tempting to justify our own inflammatory rhetoric by offering phrases like “they deserve it.”

But we offend the cross of Christ when we condescend to the primary offense.

The language we use to describe the insurrectionists is important not only for their inherent dignity as human beings but for ourselves.

The example of the Japanese prison guards should make us all shudder.

Once we believe our hatred against people is justified, there is no wrong we will not commit against them.

This reverence for the Imago Dei does not mean we skip justice. But we can hold people accountable while recognizing their humanity.


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More from @crosby_katie

22 Dec 20
One of the biggest hang-ups for Evangelicals is the fear we are comprising truth by participating in any kind of bridge-building activity.

I recently stated on Twitter that part of following Jesus means listening to people who feel like “the other.”

I listed many groups of people.

Shortly after, someone messaged me with questions about my theology.

One sentence read, “We can’t let empathy override what Scripture says about sin.”

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9 Aug 20
The (white) American church will continue to forfeit the credibility of our witness until we ground ourselves in church history. Buckle up for a history lesson: 1/
For the first two and a half centuries (until 311 AD), it was highly dangerous to be a Christian in Rome. The government did not want Christians to die but rather to renounce their faith. 2/
Immediate execution was likely if citizens refused to deny Christ. Many were faithful but many also recanted as they faced the possibility of gruesome deaths. Accounts record Christians being torn by dogs and burned at the stake. 3/
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