Do We Value Others?
(Post 2 of 5)

Overlook of metropolitan Los Angeles in California


                       Violence       Rage         Manslaughter      Murder

                                    Trafficking     Slavery       Exploitation

                                          Oppression             Injustice

                             Defrauding            Harassment       Abuse

                        Threats       Bullying            Intimidation      Slander

 

These are everyday terms! We know what they mean: sometimes too well. We can probably add to the list. I wish we couldn’t. God doesn’t like it and it hurts us individually and as a society. It hurts us at many levels, including spiritual.

 

This post offers a deeper look at Life Pursuit 1 in The Most Important Life Pursuits. Life Pursuit 1 is: Recognize that everyone is valuable.


One year after COVID-19 directed us to look at others with compassion, do we value people any more than we did before? Judging by what’s going on in the world, maybe not.

Do we need to be told that everyone is valuable?

Maybe we do. We may not be perpetrators of heinous crimes or egregious offenses, but are we guilty of what we may consider to be the lesser offenses in my opening paragraph? Do we value everyone?

 

Do we remember how God values people?

Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them…

This man receives sinners and eats with them…

What man of you, having a hundred sheep,
if he has lost one of them,
does not leave the ninety-nine…
and go after the one that is lost?...

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand

when I awake, I am still with you…

I know the plans I have for you…
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future…

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain…

God so loved the world…

Genesis 1:26, Mark 10:14, Luke 15:2-4,
Psalm 139:17-18, Jeremiah 29:11, Revelation 21:4, John 3:16

 

Do we remember that Jesus came to earth for all people, and suffered and died for all people?

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

…the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

…who gave himself as a ransom for all people…

…we have put our hope in the living God,
who is the Savior of all people…

1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:14, 1Timothy 2:6, 1 Timothy 4:10

 

Do we remember what Jesus expects of us?

My command is this:
Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one that this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:12-13

 

Jesus commanded us to love and sacrifice, and He showed us what He meant. At Easter time we remember the passion of Christ, how Jesus was committed so fervently to a cause that He was willing to suffer and die to accomplish it.


***
Click to tweet
At Easter time we remember the passion of Christ,
how Jesus was committed so fervently to a cause
that He was willing to suffer and die to accomplish it.
***


His cause was to unite us with Him and His Father, not to divide us. His cause was to show His kindness and compassion by dying for people who rejected Him, and for people who lived in a manner unworthy of His sacrifice. His cause was to sacrifice His life for all of us and break us free from the chains of sin and death. His cause was to rise from His grave to demonstrate that death and the physical and supernatural powers of this world could not defeat Him. His cause was to do the will of His Father and invite us into life everlasting with Him. The passion of Christ was not just zeal. It was purposeful, magnanimous, effective, and eternal.

Yet we look down on those whom He loves. We compare and live out the illusion that we’re better than others. We manipulate circumstances to get the better end of the stick. Instead of honoring people, we take what’s best for ourselves. We cut in front of people. We give them dirty looks and a piece of our mind. We spit on them, punch them, beat them, and take their vehicles. We consider ourselves superior, not only because of the color of our skin, but also because we dress better, we have better jobs and drive better cars, our friends are more popular, and we attend a “better” church and manifest the more visible spiritual gifts. What will it be like when we eventually become divided with opposing privileges based on our COVID vaccination status?

 

Image of stunt show with two cowboys fighting. Caption displays: Humanity. Be loving. Be respectful. Be humane. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Luke 6:31-36)

 

Do we need to be told to value people?

Maybe we do. Maybe we don’t realize the magnitude of the greatest commandment that Jesus reiterated and demonstrated. He loves His Father and He obeyed Him (John 14:31). He loves all people and He laid down His life for them. He fulfilled the greatest commandments:

Love the Lord your God with all you heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind…
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Matthew 22:37, 39

 

     If we love God, we will love people.

           If we don’t love people, we need to consider whether we truly love God.

 

Do you remember where self-love began? It was in the Garden of Eden – not with Adam. The Garden is probably where Satan began to notice his own beauty. He loved himself more than he loved God. He even wanted to sit on a throne like God (Ezekiel 28:12-17, Isaiah 14:13-14). It’s no wonder that he returned to the Garden to incite Adam’s self-gratification, self-love, and self-preservation. And, so began our natural tendency to turn our attention inward and away from others. Self-focus fuels the fallacy that other people often stand in the way of our own priorities.


***
Followers of Jesus have life-giving power
to step away from self-gratification and self-preservation and
to become more and more like our loving Savior
***

 

If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, we have the life-giving power to step away from self-gratification and self-preservation and to become more and more like our loving Savior. We have what we need to turn the other cheek and offer the shirts off our backs. We have a Holy Spirit who molds us with compassion and camaraderie. We can love others more than ourselves.

We need to love others more than ourselves

Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend (John 15:13). Jesus laid down His life for every person. God sent Jesus to die, not only for Israel, but for every nation, tribe, and people group on earth, past, present, and future. There is no superior race. There never was.


Do we believe it? Do we live it?

Do we see people as those whom Jesus loves and for whom Jesus died? Do people see compassion in our words and actions? Do they see it in our eyes? Do they find grace and forgiveness in our demeanor?

Do we value people?

     Will they find the gospel when they encounter us?

 

For more on the value of others, read my post about bias and prejudice: Do We Appreciate the Many Colors?

 

 

Read the other 3 life pursuits and the intro:
Intro: The Most Important Life Pursuits
2. Am I Always Right?
3. Align with God
4. Trust Jesus. It's Time.

If you have questions about Jesus and His unbiased love for people of all generations, please email me at authordlv@att.net. He looks beyond the color of our skin, meets our eyes, and understands our hearts.

Read more blog posts here.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Comments

  1. I pray we all will learn to love each other. We are all flawed. Reaching out and loving when times are tough is important. Thank you for this message.

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    1. I join you in that prayer, Melissa. If we can't love in the tough time, how can we love when things are going well?

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  2. Thanks Stephen. We need to hear this message everyday. I pray for a heart that loves like Christ. Grace and peace to you.

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    1. Yes, Yvonne. We enjoy God's love every day. Loving others is reasonable and necessary in return.

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  3. This is the beauty of the gospel! We are all made in the image of God, precious in His sight. So loved by Him that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty of our sin-debt. That ALL who believe in Him as Savior and LORD will be saved. ALL. May we treasure all of His image-bearers and pray that more will receive Christ as Savior.

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    1. Amen, Melissa. Jesus died for all. Life is offered to all. We need to recognize that truth and see others as those for whom Jesus died. His Father waits patiently for people to come to Him to receive life and love.

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  4. This resonates powerfully in my heart and my mind, Stephen. Amen -- God values ALL people no matter what. The weeds and the wheat grow together. I hope all can know the truth of Christ, but I try hard to love others whether they do or not.

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    1. Yes. Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter - that all people need to know the gospel of Christ. We can stand in the way of that when we don't love as we ought. May we care enough to put our wishes aside for the sake of others.

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  5. What a superb post! And so timely as we continue to divide along political lines.Yes, we DO need Jesus to teach us to love one another, to eat with those whom others might shun, to care for the sick, to treat with respect the refugee, to treat with equality those with a different hue of skin, to have compassion on the refugee, the poor, and the homeless, to love one another well in our homes. He modeled the kind of life each of us should pursue, a life of love and kindness, of not looking down our noses at others, of humility, and of serving others. You ask all the right answers here, Stephen, and you provide all the right answers.

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    1. Thank you for reading, Melinda. I remember your powerful post about refugees and their situations. Jesus came to love. Yes, some were divided in their response to Him, but that didn't change His love. While He hung on the cross, He asked God to forgive those who opposed Him. Though it's sometimes difficult, with Jesus as our example and strength, any excuse for not loving is probably self-serving.

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  6. Praying for all to have eyes to see as Jesus sees. Praying for all evil to be exposed for what it is, for lives everywhere to turn to Jesus with a new awakening and Spirit all over our land and throughout the world.

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    1. Amen, Janice. I need this prayer, too, because my love is not as it should be. Thank you.

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  7. Stephen, there's so much truth in your post. May we all choose to see others through Jesus' eyes and love them with Jesus' love. We must first set aside pride. Such a challenge, but so necessary.

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    1. Hi Jeanne. Pride is a huge barrier when it comes to finding value in others. This speaks to the humility of God, how He valued everyone so much that He made a way for us to be reunited with Him.

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  8. This is a powerful and timely post, Stephen, a message that bears repeating. As sinful human beings, we are all selfish. We often favor "our" group, whether we're dividing by state of residence, school of origin, hue of skin, or nation of origin, and many other dividing issues. But the Lord has called us to love our fellow humans with as much love as we love ourselves, and as you made clear, he knows that we often need to be reminded of this. A message that bears repeating, your post is universally in need by all of us at any given moment.

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    1. Yes, Melinda. We might say we've been taught that we're the center of the universe, but that's just us talking. No one taught us what is already naturally in our hearts. We are so in need of God's grace to lift to where it is not me first, but me sacrificing for the sake of others. It is by grace we are saved, and by grace we grow and bear the character and love of God. May the Holy Spirit continually remind us of our sinfulness and utter dependency of God's grace for salvation, godly living, and godly loving.

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  9. We must love everyone regardless of their condition, point of development, or any other factor. All are imago Dei--God's image--for us to love.

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    1. Absolutely! We must love even those whom we perceive to be our enemies.

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  10. Wow, Stephan. I enjoyed how you put this together and how God's Word supports it all. It seems we do need to be told and maybe shown how everyone is valuable. Things haven't changed much since the pandemic...since we were told as God's people to lead the way in finding others valuable, serving them above ourselves, and love God above all and our neighbor (no matter the color of their skin. When we remember everyone is created in the image of God and the two most important commandments that all the other commands hinge on, it changes our perspective and our heart motive.

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    1. I can't number the times I've had ill feelings toward someone and then remembered that Jesus loves him/her and offers grace and mercy out of kindness and love. And Jesus forgave all those who expressed their hatred toward Him as He stood on trial and hung on the cross. But everyone surely is valuable and I love what you said, that God's people are the ones who should lead the way in demonstrating that. Thank you for adding to this conversation.

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