After watching the Jaycee Dugard interview a few days ago I was struck by just how evil Phillip Garrido acted. He took an 11 year old girl prisoner for nearly 20 years. He raped her repeatedly and had two children with her. He stole her childhood and her innocence. It was all about his gratification with no concern for who she was, her family, her future, or anything else. It was animalistic, cruel, brutal and nasty. That is what happens when people decide that others are there for their own personal enjoyment and advancement.
Now that is a extreme example of how that plays out in the life of one very deranged man. It is obvious to see how devestating the results are in a case like that. But it made me wonder if this same attitude doesn’t pervade the motivation many more things than our civilized society would like to admit. People use people for their own advantage every single day. Now it is not wrong for someone to do something that benefits you but it is quite another thing to only be interested in others for the good they can bring us or view someone higher or lower based on their potential to benefit or advance us. This attitude pervades everything from politics to pornography (or any of a number of addictions). It is not always this brutal or obvious but the motivation is the same. When we start viewing people for what can you do for me or how might you advance my cause rather than just see the inherent value in others regardless of their social, political, or economic standing we might be more like Phillip Garrido than we care to think. When we view others to be present for our own pleasure or interest rather than for how we might be able to bless them we might have a little more Phillip Garrido in us than we would like to think. While the results are not as instantly devastating it comes from the same place in the heart and it is a deadly way to view others.
After watching that interview it really made me want to examine my own interactions with others and the value system that I place on others and make sure it was as far from this mentality is it could possibly be. I am reminded that all people are equally valuable to God and should be equally valuable to me as well. People are valuable, not because they have something to offer us, but because God made them with value. Let us remember that the next time we are with someone who is difficult or someone who takes more than they give or someone who has little to no way of advancing us personally and yet we spend time with them and love them because that is exactly what Jesus would do.