For the Dignity of All

February 19, 2020

Not long ago I was speaking in Washington, D.C., at an event on human dignity and brought my daughter, who’d just turned 13. When the event was over, we had a few days to take in the nation’s capital. I wanted Grace to see as much as we could fit in, so I kept us on a pretty tight schedule. Then one day, as we were walking to the Washington Monument, we passed a veteran—homeless and holding a crude sign asking for money. We rushed by, but a few steps later my daughter stopped and said, “Dad, we should help him.”

I responded with the usual excuses. “I don’t have any cash.” And “We’ll get him on the way back.” But Grace was undeterred.

“Dad,” she said. “He’s made in the image of God. We can’t just pass him by.”

She took some of her spending money for the trip and walked back to the man, gave him the cash, and said, “I just want you to know God loves you.”

I was undone. Here I had just finished speaking on the topic of human dignity and was writing a book on the same subject and yet had failed its very basic test. When given an opportunity to see the humanity of those in the shadows, those whom society is most tempted to ignore, I failed.

How easy it is to simply walk by.

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