Is it too late to greet you happy Valentine’s?
Well, it’s still February, so liberties can be taken: belated happy hearts day, dear reader, and may your celebration of this thing called love (not tadhana, ohohoho) never be confined within the 24-hours of February 14th. For the remainder of your life, may love be the undercurrent of all you are and all you do.
You might have heard of him already, but there’s a pastor named Edmund Chan who said once before something difficult to forget: “You are loved not because you are valuable – you are valuable because you are loved.”
Surely he had theological proofs to support his statement, which perhaps can be saved for another time. For now though, here are pressing questions: Do you agree that you are loved, not because of the family you’re born into, the education you received, the meticulously curated Instagram account, or the contribution you’re giving back to society? And that your worth, in fact, is hinged only on the singular principle that you are loved, period?
This sounds a little counter-intuitive. Worse, doesn’t it sound like one of those new age, feel-good sentiments? Whatever it is, it’s definitely not how the world works.
The world needs people to be well-liked, well-connected, well-informed, well-something to function at a capacity that qualifies them as relevant. Beauty, wealth, titles, certifications, licenses, degrees, prestige, position – these are the unspoken currencies of this time. The world is always asking: Are you worth my time and ears and money? Are you sure?
It’s why you try to discipline yourself to perform better, it’s why you want to work smarter, it’s why you try to perfect your craft, it’s why you become so good at image management (not that these are bad things).
But what happens when you have absolutely nothing valuable to give the world?
What if you were born into circumstances that were, objectively, miserable: a lifelong disability or disfigurement, an endless cycle of generational poverty, a history of abuse and exploitation, a life with no moral compass whatsoever? What future in this world can you hope for, when the world looks at you and concludes that you are worthless, with nothing to offer?
By now you’re looking at the screen a little funny, because of course you’re not any of those things, and you do, in fact, have something to offer. Well, newsflash: the fact that you want to prove that you’re worth something to yourself (and perhaps to the rest of the world?) only underscores the lurking fear that you are not worth much at all.
When you think about it, the fact that you are reading this article becomes circumstantial: it’s because you were given an education that enabled you to read, you had enough resources to purchase the device you’re accessing this website in, you happen to be in a location where electricity isn’t problem, among other things.
And if circumstance is the only thing separating you from what the world says is worthless, then that doesn’t make you a lot different from the street kid you’re ignoring behind the tinted windows of your car, huh?
So, consider this, dear reader:
You are valuable whatever circumstance, whatever social circles you move around in, whatever educational attainment you finished. In the same way, even when you’re a baby found in a trash bin because your own mother didn’t want you (true story), you are valuable regardless.
My answer is a little corny, but it’s still February so let’s be a little corny: “Because God loves you, He loves you, He loves you.” You don’t need to make someone feel valuable by appealing to their emotions or their accolades or their new hairdo – just remember to tell them the truth. Most days, this truth will sound like a cop-out answer, and often it won’t appear to be real. But that’s not the point.
If this particular truth isn’t something you personally know for sure, then I suggest you start asking yourself the hard questions, be open of the answers that come your way, and start talking to that friend who’s been trying to introduce you to this guy called Jesus. And if, on some personal level, you understand where I’m coming from, then you also understand that you never look at people and decide to make them feel valuable – no, never.
Instead, since you experienced it first-hand, you have come to a deep conviction that people are valuable regardless because they were fearfully and wonderfully made no matter their circumstances, and so you live your life accordingly.