“Bones” is one of my favorite TV shows. The show details the relationship between the brilliant but often pop-culturally ignorant forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan and down to earth FBI agent Seeley Booth. Together, Bones and Booth solve gruesome murders, which usually means they have to identify the remains of some poor soul found who-knows-where.
Bones is incredibly smart and is often able to discern the minutest details about a person’s life just by looking at their skeletal remains. In this regard, she is a modern Sherlock Holmes. To the less brilliant (i.e. everyone else in the show), Bones can come across as being too scientific in her approach and is often accused of being cold and out of touch. At one point early in the first season, Bones defends her method by stating that she can see the faces of those who have been murdered, she can tell what kind of life they lived, how old they were, and what they looked like simply by looking at their bones.
For Bones, murder is the dehumanization and devaluation of a person. She sees her work as giving a person back their humanity, their value, and their identity.
The defense of her approach gives insight into Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:21, 22, “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.”
Jesus looks at our attitudes towards others in the same light as murder. When we insult another person or call them a fool we devalue them and in a sense try to steal away part of their humanity. But it is a difficult thing for us to simply change our attitudes. In fact, it is impossible outside of the redemptive and creative power of the crucified and resurrected Christ.
In his death and resurrection Christ redeemed us and gave new value to our humanity and still does as he represents our frail selves in perfection before the throne of God. Through his death and resurrection Christ has made us new creations. Through the power of the Holy Spirit may we have the courage to humanize rather than dehumanize and to call each other brother or sister rather than fool.