How Much Do We Value Others?
Have you heard the story of Sarita? She believed she was worth nothing, and there was no point in trying to change things. Was there any hope for her?
Sarita would walk with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was skinny, even afraid of her own shadow. Would her life ever change?
Sarita grew up on the island of Kiniwata in the Pacific. Her father hardly believed that she would ever find a husband.
An astounding dowry
One day, a very skilled and smart man nicknamed Johnny Lingo noticed Sarita and wanted to marry her. The custom was to bring a dowry to the parents of the wife-to-be, and cows were the customary gift.
Everyone knew that two to three cows could be given for a nice wife; four to five cows would be customary for a very nice one. So the people of Kiniwata were astounded when they heard that Johnny Lingo, without bargaining, gave eight cows for Sarita.
Weeks after the wedding, Shenkin, a shopkeeper on the island, came to deliver a gift Johnny had bought for Sarita. Shenkin could not believe his eyes! The Sarita he had known weeks before had become a very beautiful woman. She was graceful and showed inner confidence and dignity. What had happened?
Johnny had known that a woman would feel degraded knowing that a low-value dowry was offered for her. A woman would be devastated hearing other women boasting about the high price given for them.
Because Johnny valued Sarita so much, Sarita changed. Her posture and the look in her eyes showed that she had grown and blossomed. How Sarita viewed herself was the key. Now she knew she was worth more than any other woman on the island to Johnny.
This story was told in an article in Reader’s Digest (February 1988). It shows that people need to feel valued to be able to grow, blossom and bear fruit.
How much do you value people?
Everyone needs and desires to feel valued. The feeling of being devalued or diminished by someone else’s words or behavior can be very destructive. Feelings of being acknowledged and appreciated should be the norm for everyone.
How much value do you put on others?
In a May 1994 article in The Atlantic, titled “The Code of the Streets,” sociologist Elijah Anderson points out the sad and backward reasoning of today: “The extent to which one person can raise himself up depends on his ability to put another person down.”
Is this what you are practicing?
The question is, how do we treat others? Do we show that we value them? And does their behavior show that they feel valued?
Thirty pieces of silver
Jesus died for us so we might have access to the Father and to eternal life. Yet Judas was willing to accept a mere 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-15). That was the price for a slave (Exodus 21:32)!
In Philippians 2:3 Paul encourages us to “let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
We need to value others better than ourselves. How much better? It is impossible to gauge the value of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Yet that price was paid for each of us.
God values you!
Judas betrayed Jesus for just 30 pieces of silver! Is this the standard we use to value others? Or do we see that Jesus the Messiah gave His life—paying a price of greater value than the entire universe—for each of us, so we can have the potential to one day inherit eternal life? Does our attitude toward others, how we treat people who have been created in His own image, show that we understand the price that was paid?
How we treat and value our fellow human beings shows how we treat God and how much we appreciate and value the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
God is in the process of reconciling people to Himself. Are we helping in the reconciliation process by highly valuing others, or are we sabotaging it? Do we value the price that has been paid so we can be reconciled with God and have a relationship with Him?
Think about the value you put on people. In general, people respond according to the value you place on them. Think about how God values you. God calls His children a peculiar people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, even His own special treasure. That is your value and potentially the value of every human being.
Are you responding according to the price God values you? Will you respond to God’s calling and experience true repentance?
In Johnny Lingo’s story, the islanders long remembered that Johnny gave eight cows for his wife. Every time we see another person, we need to remember why Johnny Lingo gave eight cows for his wife. And much more, we need to remember why Jesus the Messiah gave His life for us sinners.