I have had my conscience pricked lately by they way our society values people; or the lack there-of. It has brought up some interesting questions, as I do an internal inventory to see how much of the world’s view has infiltrated into my own thinking. Do I dismiss people as unworthy? Do I write someone off due to their current actions or their ancient past? Do I draw conclusions about people based upon their __________________? [You can fill in the blank, but some that come to mind are gender, sexual preference, race, age, economic status, dress, etc.]
Ultimately, all these questions can be answered based upon value. How much do I value another person? What I am seeing in our world is a disturbing amount of value based upon selfishness. I value you or that person for what they can do for me. If you get in my way, cause me grief, don’t allow me to have my way, I have no time for you, and your value in my mind becomes vacant. While this is a terrible way to think and treat people, there is another level that is even more despicable. Many times we see the world assign value based upon how person can be manipulated. One only needs to observe the recent headlines regarding the firing of the FBI Director Comey so see that both sides hold him as valuable only as long as they can manipulate him to accomplish some other goal.
None of this is new. It is tragic, but it isn’t new.
In John 8:1-11 we see the story of the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees brought her to trap Jesus. They were not interested in her feelings. They had no concern for her eternal future. They did not value her in any way, except to use her to manipulate Jesus. I had a conversation with a supposed “Christian” not too long ago. I was encouraging them to be on the look out for Godly encounters with people who were not Jesus followers. I mentioned, as an example, the barista at Starbucks. To which the person replied, “I don’t really care about them as long as they give me my coffee and get my order right.” Are we really any different from the Pharisees?
In Luke 19:1-9 we see a similar interaction with Zacchaeus. Tax collectors were people, too. Yet no one of “religious” value placed any value on them.
A Jesus follower will choose to find value in another person, not for what they can do, what they have done, could possibly accomplish, or how they can be used and manipulated. A Jesus follower will choose to find value in another person because that person is important to Jesus. Name one person Jesus didn’t die for. It can’t be done. Each of us holds value to our Father.
Maybe we determine the value of another person as less or more because we have not embraced the value that God has placed on us in Jesus. We think that we have to keep God happy. We think we have to obey all the rules. We strive to be a good person. We hope our good stuff out weighs our bad stuff. Thus, we completely miss the point of what Jesus did for us in going to the cross. I love this quote by Andy Stanley, “Stop worrying about how you are doing with God and start living out your faith [In Jesus] by loving other people.”
Each of us has value. Why? Because Jesus died for you! Our value does not come from the world, it does not come from within ourselves. It is not assigned by our actions, titles, bank account, or our outward appearance. Our value is found in Jesus. It is time for Jesus followers to stop circling up the wagons of what they are against. The “faith,” the “scripture,” the “church,” does not need our defending. All that is needed is for Jesus followers to do what Jesus said in John 13:34-35 – A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you re my disciples, if you love one another.”