Remember that you have value.
No matter what your body’s wounds or injuries may try to tell you, you have value.
No matter what certain people – and you know the ones I mean – say about your worth, potential, or even your existence, you have value.
Genesis 1:26-31 provides us a lot of information about our inherent self-worth that is worth visiting:
1. Humanity is made in the “image” and “likeness” of God. In technical theology terms this is the “Imago Dei,” Latin for “Image of God.”
Each of us, no matter what we may have done or whatever has been done to us, is created based on the most divine blueprint that can be conceived: The blueprint that is God’s own image and likeness.
2. And God Blessed Them… After humanity is created from the divine blueprint, God goes on to bless them (v28), these new persons, people…like us.
People may wonder what exactly it means to be “blessed” in general and what it means to blessed by God in particular. It is sufficient for our purposes here to simply understand that it is a positive event, a positive condition that is for our benefit. It’s not a rotten condition.
God values you by blessing you. One of the reasons you are inherently worthy is because God has blessed you. Unlike sun tan lotions and tanning booths, God’s blessing is more than skin deep and it lasts forever. Too much exposure to God will not give you cancer…rather, it will give you Life.
Again, regardless of what trauma and injustices we may have observed, inflicted upon others, or have had inflicted upon us, we still, each of us, carry this original blessing within us – if we recognize it or not. We cannot shed this blessing even if we try (and some do try).
3. And God Saw…It Was Very Good. One can say that in verse 31 God reviews the entire creation and recognized it as “very good.” Or, one can say that God surveyed only the sixth day of creation, which includes humanity’s creation in the image and likeness of God, and recognized that those things created on that particular day are “very good.” Either way, it is a win-win moment for humanity. Whichever option you choose, humanity is recognized and it is pronounced as “very good” by God.
In the biblical text God recognizes the results of the previous days’ creation as “good.” Now this is not a bad situation to be in. To state the obvious, if God recognizes something as good, then that must be pretty good, eh?
Yet for Day Six and the creation of humanity, God’s recognition is that things are not just “good,” but are actually “very good” (It’s as if God supersized our happy meal and didn’t charge us the extra seventy-nine cents! We’re upgraded from just good, to very good…What a deal!).
Given the cost of writing materials in the ancient world, we should understand that they spent an extra dollar when the word “very” was added to intensify the meaning of the word “good” in verse 31. It would have been cheaper to just write “good.” And, every time a manuscript of Genesis was copied, they had to spend that money again. Imagine that the costs of materials and human expertise (not only in reading but also in writing) equates to a unit cost of a “Dollar-a-Word” for every word written in the Bible. Every time a new Bible was copied before the printing press was invented, it was a “Buck-a-Word” to copy down any writing. That’s a lot of bucks!
The ancient Jewish and Christian scribes and then later the pre-modern scribes and monks did not scrimp or cut budgetary corners…they spent the extra dollar to remind us that God recognizes the creation of humanity is very good.
It has always been worth an extra dollar to help you know that God views your creation as very good.
So once again, there is an emphasis that you have value.
No matter how poorly some people treat you, you have value.
No matter how sick or crippled you may be, you still have value.
No matter what sins have been inflicted upon you, you still have value.
No matter what sins you may have perpetrated, you still have value.
In just a few verses (Genesis, 1:26-31) we are informed three times how very valuable we are. We are informed that we have inherent worth.
So, no matter how many times the PTSD tries to throw tar all over our souls and destroy our relationships, we know we still have value.
God values and loves you, each one of us. The PTSD wants to over-write your identity and try to get you to give up, to reject the inherent goodness in which God created you. But, you have value.
I had a difficult morning, another trip to the neurologist. It was a morning that tried to make me feel worthless. The medical staff was just fine, very helpful, especially when I was walking and then fell down. My body was reminding me how useless I am when compared to the average national park bear. The PTSD was trying to tell me I had no worth and that I was stupid for falling down. How can I possibly be any good if it takes three nurses to scrape me off the floor and into a chair?
Those events tempted me to drag myself off to the elephant’s graveyard and drink myself silly. To avoid that meant I would need once again to dig and find out who and what I really am. I often do that through writing and trying to swim in the biblical text. It helps heal me.
I discovered – once again, because I seem to be a slow learner in this department – that I have inherent value and have been created in the image and likeness of God. It is true for me and it is true for you.
Valuable truths, realities, emphasized three times, in just a few verses…we all have value.
God values you.
Don’t give up.
Semper Pax, Dr. Z