My husband often uses a saying he learned in the military, “Nobody is totally useless, you can always use them as a bad example.” Tongue-in-cheek aside, it really speaks to the fact that everyone has worth. I don’t believe any single person that God has breathed life into on this planet is any more or any less worthy than another. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God–and God doesn’t make trash.
Somehow, living in the world, we’ve introduced this cryptic system of determining the worth of another person. It’s based on appearance, success, financial gain, popularity, who you are related to, who you know, what kind of car you drive, where you live, how you speak, the activities that you engage in…and really, I could keep going all day long. As I sit here and ponder this idea, I come up with few positive attributes that judging another human being brings to the table. But I can list a thousand damning points it raises.
As a sarcastically cynical optimist, I like to believe that there is some shred of good in every person. I encounter people daily that range from hysterically beside themselves in gratitude for the tiny things to people who are so angry at the world or so fed up with their circumstances that they treat others like they are less than dirt, and speak in said manners accordingly. I think both ends of the spectrum have been affected by this system of worth. At some point, someone was told, shown, and had it affirmed in their life that they have worth–that their life, accomplishments, or just the sheer fact they wake up in the morning to take another breath is enough. The flipside, someone has been shown that someone else is superior, better than, or simply more than they.
I think these messages that we receive on our worth–good, bad, and indifferent–start to chip away at our emotional condition in positive or negative ways. They begin to form our judgments of ourselves that either drive our ambitions or slowly kill us. But (and there’s always a ‘but’), we have the power to stop this vicious system of how worth is determined…
By looking at the truth that isn’t up for argument. God’s Word. I wish I had the superpower to walk around be able to tell people exactly what God created them to be/do/etc…so far I haven’t been that lucky. I’m sorry to tell you that God has a meaning and purpose for our individual existence, because with that comes a lot of great responsibility too. Salvation is a gift freely given, but we have to receive it. Don’t you like taking care of your gifts? Making them last? Treasuring them? Our worth, our identity, our salvation–however you define it–comes from God and God alone.
Simple? Yes. Easy? No. I don’t have the answers on this one because if you’ve paid even a tiny bit of attention to anything I’ve written previously, you know that I wrestle with reconciling this whole principle of worth. I can see it in others. I value other people as a beautiful and unique creation of God with different strengths and abilities that contribute incredible things to our world…but I can’t translate it to myself. There’s some dents in the armor of my stubborn thick skull, I fully believe this is something God and I are hitting the mats hard with for me to start wrapping my head around and kill the disconnect. As usual…a work in progress.
Not sure where I was headed in writing this morning, my mind and heart are pulled in a thousand directions at the moment. So, if you get anything out of this post, this is it: Everyone has worth. You are a beautiful gift to this earth. You have meaning and purpose. You matter.