What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. — Psalm 8:4-5
Adolf Hitler’s political philosophy has been summed up to say: “Society’s needs come before the individual’s needs.”1
History, of course, tells us how that way of thinking worked out. Similarly, Communism stresses the importance of the political party over the person. In fact, under Joseph Stalin’s collectivization efforts in the Soviet Union during the early 1900s, peasant farmers were forced, for the benefit of the state, to give up their land and animals in order to become part of collective farms. This resulted in the starvation and death of many millions of innocent people.
In contrast to these philosophies, the biblical worldview holds that people matter supremely because they matter to God. Genesis 1:26-27 makes it clear that human beings are uniquely created in the image of God. We therefore have intrinsic value beyond that of any of the other creatures on earth, and this value is not contingent on our abilities, quality of life, or perceived worth in society.
Thus, Jesus said that God’s greatest commands are to
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… [and] Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. — Matthew 22:37-40, emphasis mine
Jesus also challenged us to go beyond just loving our neighbors:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. — Matthew 5:43-45
It was out of their biblically informed mind-set that the founders of the United States penned these civilization-shaping words of the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It is usually people who are influenced by the biblical worldview who strive to protect the unborn, fight for the rights of the oppressed, and work to feed, clothe, and lift up those in poverty. These are practical outworkings of the teachings of Jesus, who said in Matthew 25:40,
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.
Truth for Today
You matter to God, as does every person you know — and those you don’t know. Whom might God want you to protect, encourage, or love in His name today?
- E. Samaan, From a “Race of Masters” to a “Master Race”: 1948 To 1848 (published through www.CreateSpace.com and A. E. Samaan: 2013), 754. Can be seen at: https://books.google.com/books?id=JkXJZtI9DQoC&q=Society%27s+needs+come+before+the+individual%27s+needs#v=snippet&q=Society’s%20needs%20come%20before%20the%20individual’s%20needs&f=false.
Excerpted with permission from Today’s Moment of Truth by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg, copyright Lee Strobel.
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People matter. People we agree with and people we couldn’t differ from more. People on “our side” and those who would happily obliterate us just for who we are and for what issues we stand. The elderly, the unborn, the disenfranchised, the widows, orphans, and the poor matter. In these tumultuous times just as it was in Jesus’ day, it’s easy to love those we agree with, those who do us no harm, who don’t need anything from us, and those who don’t offend us. It’s so much harder when love has to put shoes on — when we have to walk in those words. Who needs your love today? Come share with us on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily