Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Currency of Humanity

I have spent quite a chunk of time pondering the way that we value people and how we determine this value. My observations have proven to be quite disturbing and upsetting. About a year ago I read about something known as the lifeboat theory. This theory suggests that five people are stranded in the middle of an ocean sharing a single lifeboat. The problem is that in order for the group as a whole to survive, one of the boat's inhabitants must be tossed overboard. The occupants of the lifeboat are a female doctor, a male lawyer, a stay-at-home mom, a garbage collector, and a crippled child. In order to find a plausible solution to this problem, people will weigh their options, identifying the pros and cons of each individual member. All of this is done to determine the inherent value of each individual. Essentially, this identifies that all men, women, and children are not created equally. And for most of us, we would not have any problem voting out the weakest link in this situation, claiming that we are looking out for the best interests of the whole. This is where my spirit clashes with the culture that created me. After looking at this situation for a while, I was troubled because who I am to determine that one individual is more valuable than another, in the same way that a hundred dollar bill is more valuable than a one dollar bill? Who am I to say that an aeronautical engineer is more valuable than a sanitation engineer (aka trash collector)? What criteria am I using to determine this? A pay scale? An education level? It certainly isn't their personal value to me because I guarantee that my life would be much more affected if there were no garbage collectors than if there were no aeronautical engineers. I mean really, when was the last time I went into space? I can't seem to identify a single criterion used to determine human value, but it certainly seems that we are not using the same criterion as God.
Now this may come as a shock to some of you, but God sees everyone with the same value. That does not mean that everyone is meant to have the same occupation or has the same gifts or abilities. He does not have the same expectations for everyone, but He has the same amount of love for every individual. Psalm 139:17-18 says, "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You." My prayer is that I would see every individual with the eyes of Jesus, and by doing this, I will be better able to love others with His love. When I look at the poor, the rich, the old, the young, the angry, the scared, the abused, the abusers, the victim, the perpetrator; I want to see the image of the One who created them and love them with His love. And some day, the currency of humanity will be replaced with the purposes of God. Some day...

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