Originally written April 4, 2011.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the systems that we use to gain value, worth, and basically, false redemption.
Donald Miller enables this great metaphor in his book Searching For God Knows What: Basically, we are all on a sinking lifeboat that has one too many passengers. We are fighting to prove our value and necessity on the boat, lest we be cast out. And his metaphor makes perfect sense.
Being a human means that we are basically defined by who loves us. God made us so that He was the source of our identity and outside of our relationship with Him, we don’t have any worth at all. He tells us we are valuable, beautiful, and worthy of love. Because our sin severed this direct relationship with our Creator, we have devised this system in which we are desperately looking towards others for approval and worth.
I think one reason people hate clubs and associations that are of a more exclusive nature, for example Greek clubs, is because it reminds everyone of the lifeboat mentality. We are seeking acceptance from a jury of our peers, longing for them to say “You are good enough, you have value to us, we love you.” When faced with rejection from any sort of jury of peers, it hurts. We’ve lost our source of “redemption.” And so, the search for a new system commences. On and on and on until you are deemed “good enough.” Being utterly consumed by this process happens all too frequently.
But really, who is the judge of this confused cycle? Who says one person is better than the other? None of us are capable of this task—only God. Our value system is completely silly to Him, as He created each person with inherent value. His speciality is creating the best. God’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts, as the prophet Isaiah confirms.
Our significance is in Christ alone. Only when we recognize this truth can we love ourselves, others, and God how we should. There’s rescue from this sinking ship of false security and redemption.
(Note. For those who legitimately hate Greek clubs, here’s the thing. Using the “jury of peers” model, I bet you can think of equivalent social environments in your life. The underlying foundation is all the same.)