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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




Viewing and Valuing People the Way God Does

Carol A. Reasoner related the following. "A Sunday school teacher at the Sunrise church of Christ in Rialto, California, was telling the children in her class that God loves them all the time, even if they are grumpy. 'And Happy!' exclaimed Jeremy, my two-year-old grandson, adding, 'and Sleepy and Dopey and Sneezy and Doc and Bashful.'" The two-year-old had it right, didn't he?! "God so loved the world" that Jesus died for it (John 3:16) – that is, every person in every place in every time. You and I may find it hard to love every person in the room – especially the Grumpy's and Dopey's, etc. (some of whom we may think we see regularly at church on the other end of the pew). But God's love is universal. "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Billions of words have been written as authors attempt to explain and express the meanings and motives behind Jesus' death on the cross. But the fundamental force that took Him to and kept Him on the old rugged cross is revealed in simple but wondrous words in Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." That truth ought to be shouted from the jailhouse to the church house to the White House! God loves us, even if there is sin and failure in our lives! "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."   Hallelujah!

Consider this: we never have permission from God to hate any person whom He loves and for whom Jesus died. And that is tough at times, for the Scripture tells us again that Jesus "gave Himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:6). Would it change our world if human beings learned to view and value each other on the same basis as God? Jesus didn't just die for rich, successful, smart, powerful, popular, beautiful people. He didn't even just die for loving / lovely people. He loved and died for every person, including those you and I might have difficulty loving. There are three things we can count on about every person on the planet. First, every human being is created in the image of God. Second, every person is loved by God. And third, every person was died for by the Son of God. Think about the following story. A wealthy tycoon bought a 1,000 acre farm. He paid more than the property was worth because of a magnificent old oak tree, reputed to be 300 years old, that was growing there. Back in the city, many of his associates didn't believe the tree was that old and ridiculed and poked fun at him for paying so much for the farm. The new owner called his caretaker, Zeke, to verify the age of the old tree. Three days later Zeke reported his findings and exclaimed, "Great news, Boss! The tree is even older than we thought —it's actually 332 years old." The owner gushed, "Great work, Zeke! But how did you pinpoint its age so precisely?" Zeke replied, "Oh, it was easy, Boss. We just cut `er down and counted the rings." Moral of the story: don't be so quick to "cut" things down – especially people! God loved every person you know enough to send Jesus to die for them. If we are to please our Heavenly Father, and if we are to be like Him at all, we must view and value and love even the unlovely people in our lives. Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ