Worthless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that word to describe someone. It comes out of my mouth and into my head too often to be honest. There was even a time when that word would come into my head as I looked into the mirror. Rejection and pain have a way of doing that to you. The problem is that when you say it about someone or yourself enough, you start to believe it. When you think or say those things about yourself or someone else, you’re capable of doing anything to that person simply because you don’t see any value. It’s hard to live in harmony or to be at peace with someone, especially yourself, if you don’t value them.
One of the things I love about Jesus is how He valued people. When I read the Gospels, that’s something that always jumps off the page at me. When Jesus looked at people, the Bible said He had compassion on them. Because He valued them, He poured God’s Word into them, fed them and healed them. Think of the disciples He called. The world said they were uneducated and worthless, but Jesus saw more than that. He didn’t see a wispy washy man. He saw a rock in Peter. He didn’t see a doubter in Thomas. He saw a person that carry His message outside the Roman Empire. With Matthew, He didn’t see a worthless, traitorous person, He saw someone who could reach the rejected.
What do you see in others or in the mirror? Can you see beyond the present? Do you see value? Romans 12:16 says, “Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own” (TPT). How can you love someone if you don’t value them? We’re to be known for our love. We’re to carry out the Great Commission, but we can’t if we don’t value people. Worthless shouldn’t be in our vocabulary when it comes to ourselves or others. Christ loved and valued each of us enough to die for us so that we could spend eternity with Him. God created each one of us in His image as well. If we value God, and Jesus’ work on the cross, then we must value ourselves and everyone else. When we value them, we can love them. When we love them, we will see them as Jesus does.
One of the things I enjoy doing is cooking. Whether it’s on the stove, in the oven, on a grill or over a campfire, I love making food that tastes good. Life is too short to eat bland food. No matter what I’m cooking though, one seasoning is almost always present. I store it in the cabinet, but when I’m preparing a meal, I have to take the salt out and put it on the meat. I can’t just set it on the counter and expect the food to absorb it. For it to season the food, i must apply it to the unseasoned meat. That is the only way it will work. Coincidentally, that’s the only way our witness works as well. If we don’t come into contact with people who aren’t seasoned with Jesus, how else are they supposed to know Him?
In Matthew 9, Jesus was walking through Capernaum when He came upon a tax collector named Matthew. The Jews thought he was a traitor because he was taking taxes from the Jews and giving them to the Romans. Jesus walked up to him and said, “Come, follow me.” Later, Jesus went to have dinner at Matthew’s house and Matthew invited all of his tax collecting friends who were society’s outcasts. The religious people lost their minds and questioned how Jesus could dine with such people if He was holy. Jesus responded in verse 13, “Now you should go and study the meaning of the verse: I want you to show mercy, not just offer me a sacrifice. For I have come to invite the outcasts of society and sinners, not those who think they are already on the right path” (TPT).
Jesus didn’t come so Christians could insulate ourselves from the world. He came so that the whole world would be reconciled to Him. If you’re not engaging with people who don’t know Jesus, you’re doing it wrong. Jesus didn’t preach at this dinner either. He simply hung out with them and His flavors rubbed off on them so much so that at least Matthew gave up his way of living to follow Jesus. Jesus looked at people as people first and not by the label of their sin. It’s easy to be religious and look at how someone sins differently than we do. It’s Christ like to look beyond their sin and to see the person He died for. If we’re going to spread His salt throughout the earth to all nations, we’ve got to look at people through His eyes rather than our religious ones. Jesus made it a habit to hang out with society’s outcasts and sinners. When is the last time you or I did that?
I once heard someone say, “Everyone is a blessing. Some when they come into your life and others when they leave.” I also saw a meme that said, “I love my coworkers. Some I love to be around and some I love to avoid.” Right now you probably have some people in mind who you’d like to avoid and others whom you wish would be a blessing and exit your life. It’s only human to have conflict with some people. You’re not evil for having those thoughts.
In Acts 15:37-41, we read how the great apostle Paul and his ministry partner Barnabas had a heated argument and disagreement. It says they parted ways, the believers prayed blessings on both of them and that every place they went, they left the church stronger and more encouraged than before. This split came after the Holy Spirit had said in Acts 13:2 to set apart Paul and Barnabas to do the work of the ministry together. God put them together for a season and then blessed their parting.
Here’s the deal. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Always give thanks to Father God for every person he brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (TPT). God has a reason for each person He brings into your life, whether you like them or not. Instead of praying for them to leave your life, try thanking God for them and asking Him to accomplish in your life what He needs to through that relationship. It’s no accident you’re together for this season. A time of departure may be on the horizon, but if God is going to bless both of you after, you’ve got to learn to be thankful for them first.
When I was younger, I thought I was Holy and pure. Looking back, I can see it was a lot of self righteousness. I was full of myself which meant there was not much room for Jesus in my life. You see the more there is of me in my life, the less there is of Him. The less there is of me, the more there is of Him, and that corresponds to how much grace I give as well. We live in a world that desperately needs grace, but many of us can’t give it because there’s not much grace in us to give. It’s time for us to rise up, be vocal about the Jesus who lives inside of us, but because of where society is, we back down.
I believe we stay quiet because we are afraid of how we will be attacked by others for our beliefs. 1 Peter 5:8 says that devil roams around like a roaring lion. He isolates us, pretending to be a lion, making us think we will be devoured, but what we forget is that we have the Lion of Judah on our side. He is our protector, our defender and the one whom we should get courage from in today’s world. If He is for us, who can be against us? Yet, even though He is standing with us, we fear what the world will do, so we stay silent.
Psalm 59:16 says, “But I will sing about your strength; every morning I will sing aloud of your constant love. You have been a refuge for me, a shelter in my time of trouble” (GNT). It’s time for us to not be afraid to show the love and grace of Jesus to others. It’s time for us to be free to speak about our faith. The more we love Jesus, the more we should love others. That love should be overflowing from our lives and spilling on to those we come in contact with. If we want the world to change, we need to be showing and sharing His love because it covers a multitude of sins. We can’t be stingy anymore with His love and we can’t stay silent because of our fear of today’s society. We must break out of the silence that society has forced us into, speak out for what’s right, give grace freely and live out loud.