Ignoring the Worth of People

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?" - Luke 15:8

I have been thinking about this parable since last week's sermon and thinking of the imagery with the lost coin made me wonder about the lost coins that get swept under the carpet. These are the coins that we don't want to find because we have not valued them as highly as the silver coin. We may see them as copper coins or pennies that we don't even bother to pick them up, despite that they are in plain sight. Sometimes they get ignored and swept under the carpet in our search for more worthy coins.

Photo by Benjamin Lambert on Unsplash

Some coins like homeless persons are in plain sight while others hide under callous layers of rejection or abuse based on value judgments. Like women and children caught up in human sex trafficking - hidden beneath societies surface. I think of the many stories of sexual assault coming forth in the news today. These are stories about worth. Violence starts with a value judgment in the mind of the abuser. It begins with the refusal to see people as God see them - silver coins not copper.

The danger comes with the assumption that we are a silver coin and others are copper. This assumption then paves the way for us to take advantage of others and objectify others. We use people for utilitarian purposes, as cogs in a machine and as a means to an end. The abuse of another is justified by unworthiness in comparison to self.

"The reflection I look for in other people is the image of God in them." The woman lit a lamp so the glimmer of the coin would reflect where the coin was lost. The reflection I look for in other people is the image of God in them. For some people that glimmer has been covered up by trauma, abuse, hurt, pain, or rejection. Dealing with these hurts can be messy, and so we may tend to sweep people under the carpet.

Others hide under the rug because they think no one wants to see the shame that comes with the pain. Their shame makes them hide from God's light like Adam and Eve hiding from God in the garden after the fall.

The point of the parable is that all people matter to God. All people have worth in God's eyes and are worth finding. God wants to lift the carpet and clear away the dirt. God searches under the rug, in the dust, and in the dark corners of life. God tells us our lives are worth significantly more than a penny.

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