Choose to View People as Only Human

Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

Clay Feet - free from of my favorite biblical images comes from Daniel 2:31-36. The king had a dream. He envisioned a great idol with a head of gold, a breast and arms of silver, a belly and thighs of brass, and legs of iron. It was a stately image with the strength of metals and ores.


However, this seemingly strong idol had feet made of part iron and part clay. Therefore, when a stone smote the image at this most vulnerable part, it broke into pieces and the idol fell down. You see, dried clay is easily fragmented when hit just the right way.

Of course, this was a dream, but I think there is a life lesson there for all us. God is not an idol; He’s the real thing. His feet are not made of clay. When we look to Him, we will never be misled or disappointed.

However, many of us tend to look to other people instead of God. We make idols of people, forgetting all humans have clay feet. In other words, no matter how wonderful we think people are, they will eventually disappoint us. It can happen with those we love such as a mother, father, sister, brother, mate, child, or friend. It can happen with those we set up as authority figures, those we admire, we mentor or who mentor us. People are human.

Those we are closest to or look up to the most have the greatest ability to hurt or disappoint us. It may happen in a tone of voice we don’t like, or a comment that hits us the wrong way. Or maybe they just flat out make a big mistake and it doesn’t matter how much they apologize, we just can’t forgive or forget. Let’s face it. All people are human and have clay feet. And when that rock of offense hits those clay feet, the wonderful image we have of a person comes tumbling down.

We focus on scriptures like Matthew 18:6 or Mark 9:42 that say it would be better to drown than offend one of God’s little ones. We focus on scriptures like 1 Corinthians 8:13 which tell us not to deliberately offend. Good stuff…but rarely do we focus on scriptures like Psalm 119:165, which says, “Great peace have those who love thy law and NOTHING shall offend them.”

Most of us are not the “little ones” in Christ. We’ve been around awhile. We might even be considered, perish the thought, the “old timers.” If we are too quick to impute a wrong motive, look for the hidden meaning, or over evaluate every statement people make, perhaps we are lacking in some of that peace that comes from loving God’s law.

Even Paul said to follow him as he follows Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) Paul knew he was human and would make mistakes. Paul had the ability to disappoint. He even disappointed himself with his own humanness. (Romans 7:18-21) But he also knew that Jesus Christ never makes mistakes.

Follow Me... - from church art subscription

Consider this… Jesus Christ has a pure motive in how He deals with us. Jesus Christ is love. Jesus Christ does not have clay feet. And guess what? Jesus Christ just might live in that person you think is deliberately offending you.
So maybe we should cut each other a little slack. Maybe we should accept that apology. Maybe we should overlook that comment. Maybe it wasn’t their tone of voice that was off but our hearing. Maybe they didn’t even say what we thought they said. Maybe they are just struggling to live the Christian life like we are.

Let’s make a deal. I’ll try not to throw stones at your clay feet, if you’ll try not to throw stones at mine. Of course, we may slip up. After all, we are only human.


Clown Feet - free from

Suggestions for practicing this choice…

Try not to be so touchy.

Try not to impute motives into what others do.

Try to give the benefit of the doubt.

Try not to take everything personally.

Remember that people are human – just like you!

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