In the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England, the devastation of generations of enslaved men, women, and children is remembered. The price innocent people have paid for the greed of others is horrific—but theirs is not the only cost. Engraved in a wall of the museum is a profound observation made by Frederick Douglass, former slave and crusader for human rights, which reads, “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” In the act of dehumanizing others, we dehumanize ourselves.
The apostle Paul put it another way when he wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Paul’s words form a stark reminder to us that our choices have consequences—and that includes how we choose to treat others. When we choose to hate, that hate can return to us in the form of consequences that we can never fully prepare for. We can find ourselves alienated from others, angry with ourselves, and hamstrung in our ability to serve Christ effectively.
Instead, let’s choose “not [to] grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap . . . . As we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (vv.9-10).