Where does our value as a person come from? Does it come from another person? Does it come from the accumulation of things? Does it come from our occupation?
I believe that our value actually comes from the one who created all things, and made humanity in His image. Value comes from the triune God. The beauty of the creation narrative is that after the physical world was formed, God didn’t stop there. He created man, and man was created in His image. We are assigned the highest value among all the created order because we were created in the image of the creator of the universe.
After he created man, God looks on His image bearer and says “it is very good.” The beginning of human existence is really, really good. It is the prize of the created order. In fact the narrative goes on to tell us that Man was in charge of the earth, that we should subdue the earth and take dominion over it.
Then something happened, humanity broke.
We bought into a lie that what we had was not enough, that to be truly whole we needed something more than what was already given to us by God. Yet even in their transgression, God is good to them. While there were consequences for their actions He still valued them, He still viewed mankind as his children.
As the years passed humanity looked to other things to make them feel whole. They looked for things that assigned value outside of their creator. This has lead to a fleeting attempt to find wholeness and worth everywhere but the origin of where it was assigned in the first place.
Most commonly I am convinced that we look for other people to assign our value. We work tirelessly to make sure we are recognized by our bosses, by our peers, by anyone who will take notice. We not only look for the praise of people, we also look to defend ourselves against offenses from others. Yet none of these things actually assign value or worth to us.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus runs through a section of the law telling us, “that if someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Effectively what I believe Jesus is telling us is that we should not overly value the honor of man. Jesus is telling us that another human is not the dispenser of value.
Later in the Sermon on the mount Jesus affirms that we are the most valued of God’s creation, and that he cares about us. We are loved by God in unimaginable ways, we are His most valuable creation. Because of the high level of value that he places on us, He sacrificed a part of himself in Jesus to see us restored in relationship with Him.
We must believe that we are valuable, that every person is valuable in the sight of God.
by Paul Hoffman