We are equal. We all have the same inherent worth, bestowed by God. True, regardless of income, education, circumstances, or anything else that we use to falsely distinguish ourselves as superior or exclusive.
Especially when we are young, we courageously reach out for love with hope, assuming it will be returned. We express desires of the heart without shame, assuming that our hearts’ expressions will be compassionately received. We believe that the other person is aware of our worth, as they are aware of their own. When our worth is affirmed, we develop an awareness of how to treat others as equals because of inherent worth. We begin to live the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
However, if we lose this sense of worth, we begin to confuse worth and importance. One’s importance is related to where our skills take us, and who needs them. If I have a heart attack, a doctor is the most important person. If the doctor wants to remodel a house, the carpenter is the most important person. But their worth is the same.
What we truly seek is to have our value based upon who we truly are, not only on what we do. What happens when we can no longer do medicine or no longer do carpentry. Does love, compassion, desire, forgiveness, and value end at the door of importance? Our importance will end, but our worth never does.
When we confuse worth and importance, we can miss one of the greatest gifts that equality can give us. Equality of worth moves us to live the Golden Rule. We can offer the other person respect, concern about their life experiences, and honor them as image bearers of God. We can need the same things. It is foundational for healthy, loving relationships. Mother Teresa lived this awareness of worth. We can do likewise in our daily lives.
Blog Series: Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship
3. Respect for Differences
4. Self Focus
5. Living the Process