Tag Archives: valuing others

Living In Harmony

When I was in school, there was a game that schools were teaching kids called “Lifeboat”. Basically you were the captain of a ship that was at sea and it was going down. There was one lifeboat, but there wasn’t enough room for everyone. They gave you a rundown on everyone on board. Some were young, some were old, some had questionable past, some had noble professions, some had medical conditions, some were addicts, etc. You were then to choose to see how your morals or values guided you. My parents, and a lot of Christians were against this type of education and wanted us to respect all people and value their life. I don’t remember the game lasting very long in schools, but I do remember them reiterating the Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated.

Both the Old and New Testaments teach us to love our enemies and to treat them well. The word enemy here is someone who is hostile toward you or who opposes you. That can be tough to do. Usually if someone is hostile toward me, my first reaction is to attack them back or go on the defensive. I’ve always tried to keep Proverbs 15:1 in mind when someone is angry at me, and give them a soft answer. Another thing I try to do to de-escalate the situation is to try to understand their side and point of view by asking questions gently. Most people simply want to be heard and understood. They feel like attacking or yelling is the way to do that. Our response has the ability to add gasoline to that raging fire or water.

Finally, if all else fails, value them and their life. Remember that they were made in the image of God as much as you were. 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). When we argue our points by devaluing someone else and their points. It’s like tossing them overboard in the game of Lifeboat. It’s telling them that they don’t matter and you and your points are worth more than theirs. As believers, we must learn how to live in harmony across denominational, racial, ethnical and personal belief lines. We must value each other as brothers and sisters in Christ even though we may not see eye to eye. We are not each other’s enemy, and our battle is not against flesh and blood. Each of us have the same worth to God and He paid the same price for their sin as He did for yours. When we learn to value others as ourselves, we create an ability to live in harmony.

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Seeing Someone’s Worth

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.

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Priceless

Have you ever felt like you were valued at work, home or church? It’s a great feeling to know that people see your worth. It gives you a pep in your step and makes you feel ten feet tall. Conversely, when you are undervalued, it can be demoralizing. It’s like you’re invisible and that no one cares. That’s a dangerous place to be. You feel like you could quit, give up or walk away and no one would care or notice. When you’re undervalued, you feel like your contributions don’t matter.

As Christians, we’re commanded to value everyone because every person is made in the image of God. 1 Peter 2:17 says, “Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer” (TPT). That means that every person we come across has value whether we like them or not. If we can’t value them enough to share the Gospel with them, what hope do they have? Romans said that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. That means that even when our lives were an offense to Him, He valued each one of us enough to give all of Himself for our benefit.

You don’t value someone by what they can give you. Valuing someone starts with understanding that Jesus died for them as much as He did for you. When we begin to look at people the way God does, we immediately begin to see their worth. Once we have those eyes, we should be ambassadors of hope going around showing people their worth. There are plenty of people in this world who feel they have no value Because of what people have told them or how they’ve been treated. Look around today and see who needs you to show them value. It could be the person in the mirror, across the room, down the hall or on the street. Whoever it is, recognize their worth and do something or say something to let them know they’re priceless.

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Loving Your Neighbor

Recently, the news has been covering stories of people who have devalued the lives of others. I’ve watched as people have cheered when another human was murdered because of the color of their skin or for their profession, and I’m heartbroken. Whether a person is guilty of a crime or work in a profession that others don’t like, they have a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. In the end, we are all guilty of breaking God’s laws, and we are all in need of grace. Please don’t misunderstand me, I believe people should receive justice for their wrongdoings, but I won’t cheer when a life is taken, whether deserved or not.

These recent stories in the news remind me of the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man, who was looking for a loophole in the second greatest commandment, which is to love your neighbor as yourself, asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” He was looking for Jesus to cut out certain people groups that he didn’t like. He was trying to get Jesus to say that some races or lives mattered more than others, but Jesus didn’t take the bait.

Jesus told him the story of a Jewish man who was robbed and beaten while traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Luckily, a fellow Jew who was also a priest came walking down the road where he was. When the priest saw the hurt man lying there, he crossed the street to walk past him from a distance. He didn’t want to get involved and run the risk of getting hurt. After he passed, a Levite scholar came by who was also Jewish. He avoided the hurt man as well.

Then Jesus added a twist to the story. He said a Samaritan came by. The Jews didn’t value the lives of the Samaritans so they expected him to walk by, but Jesus used him to help the injured Jew. He was driving home the point that our neighbor isn’t just someone with our nationality, heritage, or with the same political persuasion. Our neighbor is any other human and God expects us to love them as much as we love ourselves because He created us all as His children.

If you believe that Jesus died for our sins, then you must believe that His grace is strong enough to save even the worst among us. Instead of putting down those we don’t agree with or calling for their death, we should be showing them love, caring for their wounds, and being a neighbor. If our neighbor, according to Jesus, includes those we have a deep conflict with, then it’s time to stop tearing them down, avoiding them, and to start loving them like we love ourselves. It’s time to value the lives of others as much as we value our own life.

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