Theology Thursday: Value, Dignity and Significance: A Christian Perspective
In This Article:
- Why Can’t We All Get Along?
- When Not Getting Along Becomes a Problem
- Let Us Get Along the Right Way, the Best Way
Why Can’t We All Get Along?
I was residing in California decades ago when the Rodney King verdict broke, and riots erupted all over the city of Los Angeles. His famous question, “can we, can we all get along?“ was heard all over the world. I cannot speak for what he intended by that question, but I suggest that the themes of human value, dignity and significance were a part of his plea to stop the madness in its entirety.
This was a large-scale situation with other social implications. Yet situations arise every day and in all human relationships. In these, we can easily see the lack of human value, dignity and significance in those varied interactions. To Mr. King’s question, what is the explanation for why we cannot along?
When Not Getting Along Becomes a Problem
From a Judeo-Christian perspective, value, dignity and significance intrinsically belong to all human beings created after God’s own design and purpose. We all have unique characteristics that make up who we are, and through our minds and emotions, we experience spiritual life — this is where things truly matter. Yet, we all are subject and victim to the universal problem of not being able to see each other’s points of view flawlessly. Worse, we might not even care.
I heard it explained once how the start of our imperfect relationships began with Adam and Eve. Once serving and loving “others” was natural and normal, patterned after God’s love for us, and getting along was a daily effortless experience. However, this no longer was the case after the fall (Genesis 3). Perfect love would now prioritize one’s self-interests, which disconnects and distorts the high virtues of value, dignity and significance in every way. These virtues can even be absent altogether, making people feel lesser than, in turn, causing unkind or even violent responses to this type of affront. All this can cycle endlessly and affect generations and entire people groups.
Let Us Get Along the Right Way, the Best Way
Mother Teresa has shown us what providing value, dignity, and significance looks like in the worst of situations, ministering to the abandoned, the poor and the dying. Religions can contribute mantras, rules and practices to attempt to live a better life. Philosophies can share intellectual ideas. However, it is a literal change of heart that lays the foundation for attributes such as these to become a part of who we are and want to be in Christ. We create them in ourselves and recognize them in others. This is God’s standard, making sure we love like human beings created by him were to do.
God really did intend for us to all get along. Think of someone in your immediate sphere of influence today who can use your best attention (value), and your kind words (dignity), and then bestow upon them great significance through your attentive presence. While it does take our human effort, you might just start to change the world, one heart at a time. While it does take some effort, you might start changing the world, one person at a time.
Interested in studying human value according to the Christian worldview? Grand Canyon University can help you take the first step in your education with its theology and ministry programs offered by the College of Theology. Fill out the form on this page to learn more and explore more Theology Thursday articles today.
Approved by an instructor of Theology for the College of Theology on Feb. 23, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.
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