Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Your True Worth

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man."
Genesis 9:5-6

Many of you know that dollar bills are really worthless in and of themselves. Well, that's not entirely true. They are made of cotton and currently cost about 9.6 cents to produce.* So I guess a dollar bill is worth 9.6 cents. The point though is that it isn't really worth a dollar. It's value comes not from the cotton that it is made from but from the images that it bears. Those images show that the United States government stands behind it and guarantees its value. In Scripture, we find that we are much like the dollar bill. We are not made of some precious commodity. We are made of dirt. But like the dollar, our worth comes from the One whose image we bear. The Bible says that you were made in God's image. Sometimes you may feel like dirt, but you are most precious.  

This should impact the way we view ourselves, but it should also impact the way we treat other people. In the above passage of Scripture God explains to Noah and his family that the penalty for murder is death. But God doesn't base His judgment on the safety of society, on retribution for the family, or even on prevention of other murders. Instead He says very simply that murderers should be put to death because they have killed one who bears the image of God. The fact that people bear God's image should affect the way we treat each other because to a certain extent the way we treat one another reflects how we feel about God. Jesus takes this idea a step further in the New Testament when He says, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40). So if you feed a brother who is hungry, you are really feeding Christ. If you cared for a brother who is sick, really it was Christ that you cared for. Likewise, if you mistreat your brothers, you have mistreated Christ.

It shames me to think of how we have treated those who bear God's image... especially those who have been purchased with the precious blood of Christ. Have you mistreated your brother? Is there someone you need to apologize to? If so, remember Matthew 5:23-24. "If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." And be careful how you treat other people, you will have to give an account to the Lord. 

For further reading...

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