A couple of recent interviews with a famous quarterback from a famous university mentions treating opponents like they are “nameless and faceless”. Taken in context, it makes sense. It is from a coaching process that teaches that all you can control is your own actions, and not your opponents.
However, we are always being told that team sports is a lesson for life. In this context, this abstract view of those around us seems necessary, but also fraught with problems. Life is full of occupations that require treating those around us as “nameless and faceless”. The police officer, the ambulance EMT, and a soldier in battle all have to compartmentalize in order to do their job. In the corporate world, board members and chief executives often have to layoff “nameless and faceless” employees so that the company may survive.
This is where the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God come into conflict. As members of the Kingdom of God, we are never to treat other humans as “nameless and faceless”. Empathy and compassion must always permeate our lives. Each human is a precious creation in the image of God with emotions, hurts, struggles, and fears. Our role as Christians is to put a name and face on all of God’s children. They are never to be treated as abstract mounds of flesh.
This is a conflict that all Christians must face. We may not all be police officers, EMTs, and soldiers, but we all have to deal with a nameless and faceless world. That is part of the challenge we face, to live in both worlds at once.