Ambassador of Reconciliation
10/15/15 at 08:35 AM 4 Comments

"The Inestimable Worth of Every Person"

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The Creation of Adam, by Michelangelo

In a recent sermon, our pastor spoke of “the inestimable worth of every person.” Because each and every human being is created in the image of God, we all have infinite value in His eyes. As David so eloquently put it:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
(Ps. 139:13-16)*

I have been pondering this truth and thinking about the ramifications of it, both in terms of how we believe God views and treats people and in terms of how we ourselves view and treat other people. It seems to me that if God imprints His own image on a person, He will love and value that person as a treasured daughter or son.** Since His capacity to love is limitless, every individual can be the recipient of His boundless love. No one—from the tiniest baby lost in the womb to the most powerful kings of the earth—is insignificant to Him. Not a single human being will be forgotten or neglected by Him. Not a single soul is expendable to Him.

As far as the way we treat other people, should we not see them all through God’s eyes and love them with His love? Obviously, our love, unlike God’s, is severely limited, so it will be focused on those closest to us. But we can still have a caring attitude toward everyone who crosses our path, and even toward those we will never meet. The next time you are out in public, try looking at each person you pass as someone with immeasurable value. He or she has hopes and fears and sins and strengths just as you do and is loved by God just as you are.

Do you believe that every person has inestimable worth? If so, how is that belief reflected in what you think God desires for each of His creatures? How is it expressed in your own attitudes and actions toward your fellow human beings?

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*David was confident about his own worth:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up.
You are acquainted with all my ways.
You lay your hand upon me.
Your hand shall lead me.
You knitted me together.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
In your book were written the days that were formed for me.

But right after his beautiful declaration of his own value in God’s sight, David says, “Oh, that you would slay the wicked!... Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?... I hate them with complete hatred” (Ps. 139:19-22). David seems to think that not everyone is as precious to God as he is. Is David expressing the heart of God in his hatred of the wicked, or only his own feelings? Is it OK for us to have the same attitude toward our enemies as David had toward his? Should we hate those who hate the Lord? Should we desire that God slay those who are evil? What do you readers think?

**There is a special sense in which only those who are in Christ are children of God (Jn. 1:12-13, Rom. 8:14, 1 Jn. 3:1-2, 10, etc.). But there is also a general sense in which God is the Father of all those whom He has created in His image. Malachi asks, “Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us?” (Mal. 2:10), thus linking His fatherhood with the fact that He created us. Paul told the Athenians that “we are God’s offspring,” so we understand that the divine being is not made in our image “by human design or skill,” but rather that we are made in His image (Acts 17:29). He also spoke of “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:6).

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