This weekend, I met Jenny. Jenny’s one of those people who makes you feel valued, like there are few things better than spending time with you.
And, as I got thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that when you give someone value, when you treat them like they’re worth something, when you see them through God’s eyes and draw that part of them out—there’s something very attractive about that.
I think that’s how it was with Jesus. I’m sure there were some who followed him because they wanted to see him do miracles and work wonders. I’m sure there were some who followed him because they appreciated the insight he brought in his teaching. I’m sure there were some who followed him because they expected him to bring revolution and overthrow the Roman oppressors.
But a lot of the people who followed him were downtrodden and outcast, those on the fringes of society, “tax collectors and sinners,” men and women of questionable repute. And I think one of the reasons he attracted people to him was that he affirmed their worth, he treated each one as a person of great value. Maybe for the first time, the tax collector, the prostitute, the social pariah, was seen—really seen—as a child of God.
You and me and everyone we meet—we’re all made in the image of God; we’re all endowed with value and dignity. I’ve been blessed over the years by number of people around me who have restored me to wholeness, who’ve lifted me when I’ve felt battered down and broken, particularly in the aftermath of some damaging relationships. And they’ve done this by simply reminding me of God’s perspective, reminding me that I am worth something.
In light of all of this then, I guess my challenge is twofold. First, do you know how much you’re worth—how much you’re really worth? How much you’re valued by God? And do you have people around you who will remind you of that most important perspective when the world beats another message into you?
And second, realize that the people around you—your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers—they too are valued greatly in the eyes of God. How are you treating them? How are you valuing them?
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.
All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
(C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, 14-15)