"Us" & "Them"
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves (justify - make themselves feel and look better) will be humbled, and those who humble (are honest with themselves about their own goodness) themselves will be exalted.” [Emphasis added]. Luke 18:9-14 (NLT)
Isn’t that just like us, making value judgements on people and we have never even heard their story. We never heard what happened in their past to bring them to their present. We always want people to understand our backstory and be patient with us in our present failures, but we fail to seek out the backstory of others in order to demonstrate the same grace and understanding toward them.
In our brokenness, we tend to place value judgements on people based on what they do. We say they are “good” or “bad” based on how they behave. We use language like “us” and “them”.
But this isn’t how Jesus sees people. Jesus doesn’t see people as “good” or “bad”. As we have already learned through earlier devotionals, Jesus is the only one who is good and He sees us (all of us) as broken and sinful. It’s not an us and them, it is simply “we”. But He also see’s past our brokenness and sinfulness to who we truly are: children, loved unconditionally, lost and afraid, and made in His likeness (the ability to have a relationship with Him).
In spite of what we have done, God still sees us as deserving of love because of who we are to Him. God doesn’t make value judgements based on behavior.
In fact, it is said, “The value of something is measured by what someone is willing to pay for it.” Let me ask you some questions, “What do you think you are worth? What would someone pay for you?” You might say, "Well it matters who is the one paying." If it’s a parent, most will give all the money they have. And this happens anyway. Lol. If it is someone who may not be crazy about you, maybe nothing at all.
Let me ask you another question, “What do you think Jesus would be willing to pay for you?” Guess what? Jesus already answered that question… He paid for you with His death on the cross. He gave Himself so he could have all of YOURself. He paid with His life, so He could give you new life and spend eternity with Him forever. He paid an infinite price for you and me. We all are infinitely valuable to Jesus.
Lord Jesus I need your eyes to truly see the value in all people, inlcuding myself. Forgive me when I have made value judgments on poeple. I thank you for your grace and thank you for dying on the cross for me because you value me and others above all else. Amen