Well, I had a first today. I served as a witness in a murder trial.
I promise I’m not making these things up.
I did not play a major role in the trial. Just came in and confirmed it was me in the 911 recording and then explained again what I had seen. Total of five minutes tops. The cross-examination was one question. (As an avid reader of John Grisham, I found it pretty amazing to be “cross-examined”.)
As thrilling (or rather, nerve-wracking) experience as it was, it was also very sad. Six years ago our neighbor’s nephew was shot when he was walking home from work. It has taken SIX YEARS for this to go to trial. And his parents and relatives are still deeply mourning his death. I pray that the trial ends with justice and closure for all those who are still mourning.
As I was walking out of the courthouse I was pondering human worth. This trial is a big example of how we place worth on people. Someone’s life is taken. The suspect is taken into custody. Witnesses come forward. The entire bulky justice system sets itself into motion to ensure that justice is served. Time, money, resources, all set in motion to say, this person’s life had worth and we require justice because it was ended wrongfully.
And then, at the same time, the trial took SIX YEARS to happen! Which sends a totally different message. This is important, but maybe not THAT important.
We do this with children. We have CHILD SERVICES that are present to ensure that children are not being abused or neglected. Entire bureaucracies devoted to the safe-guarding of children. We have NICU units in our hospitals, devoted to saving the life of prematurely born babies and other infants suffering any kind of malady. All declaring that children have WORTH. Time, money and all manner of resources devoted to showing worth.
And then, at the same time, we’ve decided that if a child is in the womb, the mother can decide that the child doesn’t have worth at all and simply abort it. Not THAT important after all.
We do it with our elderly. Though, as I sit here, I can’t think of too many ways that we show our elderly their worth. Maybe we just talk about our elders having worth. Our subpar nursing homes, inefficient Medicare and tiny social security payments don’t show a lot of worth to our elderly. But we TALK about them having worth.
It’s no wonder that we are so confused about self-worth.
Our social structures give us very mixed messages about our worth. And our overall culture does the same. We idolize people in entertainment who look a “certain” way. (Whichever way happens to be popular at the moment.) And the problem is, that “certain” way is not how most people look. And then we compare ourselves to this touched-up, photo-shopped, made-up version of what we think is beautiful, we don’t look anything like it, and then we feel subpar. Not beautiful. And in our society, not-beautiful equals lesser importance.
So, how do we step out of this confusing mess of mixed messages that we live in?
Well, I’m going to point you back to the Bible. Again. Cause it’s the only thing we have that speaks truth. What does God say about you?
You are Loved by God John 3:16
You are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus Ephesians 2:10
You are Created in God’s Image Gen 1:27
You are Forgiven through the work of Jesus on the Cross Colossians 1:13-14
As a follower of Jesus You are Heirs of eternal life 1 John 5:13
As a follower of Jesus You are Blessed with all Spiritual Blessings Ephesians 1: 3-6
I could go on and on and on. All about how much worth you have. I would say that any place in our society and culture that declares to you your worth as a human being, you can thank God for those being there. And any place where you are being devalued, that is the Enemy, known by many names, whose only mission is to seek and destroy all that God has created.
It’s late. I’ve had a really long day. But before I go to bed, I just wanted to let you know, You are Beautiful. You are loved. You have Great Worth.