I think we live in a world where people feel like they do not matter.
They are just a number, one of seven billion. They have a very low view of themselves and what they mean to the rest of the world. They feel like they’re an accident, or they’ve failed and should be discarded. Their good and bad choices don’t really matter. Death is the ultimate conclusion.
I understand why people feel that way, but I don’t believe it. I don’t believe death is what defines us. I don’t think worthlessness is the core of who we are as people.
I believe things matter. I believe that we matter. I believe that you matter. I believe that God, as revealed as Jesus, is what defines us all, that that is life.
There’s a phrase I wrote in The Shack that’s become important to me: “If anything matters then everything matters.”
Either nothing matters and we’re all caught in this bind of despair, or everything matters and life has value and meaning, and what we do with our lives is important.
One is a very low view of humanity. One is a very high view.
I think God prefers to the latter view. When you love something, you have a high view of it. And God loves humans.
If the incarnation is true—if God is a person who created people for a relationship with Him—then suddenly everything matters.
My choices to forgive and to ask for forgiveness now matter.
My choices to hurt and betray now matter.
The things I do have an outworking that spins into the cosmos, because God created us to be people that participate in His creation.
Theologically, a lot of us grew up with the idea that there was absolutely nothing good in us. That we were depraved, and we spend our lives trying to do some sort of good we don’t even really believe we’re capable of.
That puts us into a trap we can’t escape from. We feel worthless, and no matter how good we try to be, we know we’re doomed to failure. We think of God as being inherently separate from us, forever just out of our reach. It’s an exhausting way to live.
Escaping the Language of Separation
We have to get away from the language of separation and into the language of participation.
We think of God as someone who creates outside of Himself, which is why we think of Him as being separate and distant from us. In this view, God sent Jesus over on a rescue operation as a contractor who can build a bridge, and He opens the bridge for anyone who has the magic words. You begin with that idea and the whole thing becomes unlivable.
But the Bible presents an alternative. Creation is not created outside of God, but within His very being. It’s a great dance. And Jesus tells us that not only was creation created with God, it was created specifically in Jesus. That is stunning. That is why you have these bold declarations that “nothing can separate you from the love of God.” It’s not about saying the magic words to get over a bridge. It’s about entering into the relationship you were created to have.
When we embrace that idea, we understand that we have worth. It’s not just that God loves us, it’s that we’re created within the love of God. Not just to be an object that He loves, but to be in a continual, real friendship with Him.
That’s why we matter.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. (And be sure to give your email at the bottom of this page, if you haven’t already, so we can keep you up to date on our unfolding conversation.)