More from Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed:
Aside from the distinction between good and evil, between helping and hurting, the fundamental distinction of that ethic is between giving things and giving oneself. When you give somebody a thing without giving yourself, you degrade both parties by making the receiver utterly passive and by making yourself a benefactor standing there to receive thanks – and even sometimes obedience – as repayment. But when you give yourself, nobody is degraded – in fact, both parties are elevated by a shared joy.
There are often discussions in churches regarding how it is important to not only give of our possessions, but also of ourselves. And the above gives rationale for that. In the act of giving things, we take away our shared humanity; we elevate ourselves to a place above the other and they in turn, are subservient to us. Giving should not leave hard feelings; rather, I would hope it would be a time in which humanity is shared, when the walls of hostility are broken down between people and in which reconciliation is able to take place. It goes back to I-It relationships and I-Thou relationships. Are we viewing and treating the other as an object or a subject? Are we doing this out of love or out of pity?