Thursday October 5, The New York Times publishes a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Since the publication, the total number of accusers go beyond 80. At the root of this “Weinstein ripple effect” is PEOPLE BEING OBJECTIFIED. People being seen as objects and not fully human. And we as the church cannot brush this off and go “Oh well, that Hollywood. They have nothing to do with us.” Because it has everything to do with us. This hyper-sexualized culture in the entertainment industry directly correlates to the normalization of sexual objectification in our own communities.
We are often swayed by what we see in the physical appearances in people. Or take it further, we let what we think other people see in us sway how we think of ourselves. As we are saturated by an objectification culture, we often find ourselves objectifying others and even objectifying ourselves. Our gaze and the gaze of people carries so much weight in the decisions we make in our lives. What we wear. How we talk. What we eat. Where we live. What car we drive. What makeup you put on. We give so much power to the gaze of people and yet it is like the paper currency not backed by gold: There is no real value to it.
There is, however, a gaze that matters. The gaze of absolute truth. The gaze of perfection. The gaze that determines our salvation. The gaze of God. And in verse 7 God reveals the rubric of his gaze; the angle from which he looks at us: “the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” The one true gaze that ACTUALLY matters does not see us like a piece of meat. The one true gaze does not objectify us. The one true gaze does not look on the outward appearance, but he looks on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:6-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.”[a] 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.