Do You See People as Indiviuals or as Categories?

My friend Dick Foth has a way with phrases. Recently he described a spiritual ailment called “hardening of the categories (HTC).”

Those afflicted with this disease lose the ability to see individuals. Instead, they see people only in terms of their categories. It’s like the physical disease in which hardening of the arteries narrows the passageways and decreases flexibility. Those with HTC lose the ability to think flexibly. They become narrow minded.

You know what I mean. The guy with the dirty clothes and long hair, standing on the corner with a sign…when you get HTC you see a type of person, and you automatically know what they’re like because that’s just how those people are.

In Jesus’ day everybody knew about Samaritans and tax collectors. You didn’t have to bother knowing the person. His category was all that mattered.

HTC is a disease of convenience. The girl with all the tattoos is troubled and needs guidance. The guy in the wheelchair needs help or pity. The well-dressed lady is smart and has a lot to offer. Life’s a lot easier when you don’t have to bother with back stories.

I suspect we all have a bit of HTC. We all have some blind spots, pigeonholes into which we place certain classes of people. We need to ask Jesus to show us the places where we see groups rather than individuals.

Perhaps it’s appearance, political persuasion, culture, race, or …

What are your HTC areas?

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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