On the evening news recently there was a report about homeless veterans and others who have no place to live, no job, no dependable food source. One of the men interviewed said, “People think of us as invisible. They don’t know we’re here and they don’t care about our situation.”
When I heard his comments, it made me think more deeply about how I look at those in need. It stirred me to think about ways we can all help – for instance, buying food to give to those in need, making donations to charitable organizations, or giving used clothing to thrift shops.
Yet while it’s so heartening to see people helping in these important ways, behind that stirring was something more. I thought about what the Bible teaches about the importance, even the demand made upon us, of loving one another, seeing our brother’s need, and responding in a way in which we would want someone else to help us.
To me, this isn’t just about items or money we may give others, it’s about how we see them. I’ve found it encouraging to think of people the way God sees them. Christ Jesus once spoke of a shepherd who had 100 sheep (see Matthew 18:10-14). One went astray and left the general flock. The shepherd went out into the mountains to look for that lost sheep; to find it and bring it back to where it belonged with the rest of the flock. The good shepherd loved his sheep and made sure they were all cared for.
This illustrates, as Jesus explained, that it is not our heavenly Father’s will that any “of these little ones should perish.” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, was a devoted student of the Bible. In her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she wrote: “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (p. 518). And the marginal heading next to that statement reads, “Assistance in brotherhood.”
What enables us to see our own, as well as our brothers’ and sisters’, value and worth? Even when one takes earnest and selfless steps to find a sense of value through human ways and means, I’ve found there is a need to go deeper. What Christ Jesus taught about himself and others is a great help. He acknowledged his perfect relation to God, his heavenly Father, so many times and in so many ways. Jesus’ whole life and career was evidence of God’s redeeming, uplifting care.
Jesus’ understanding of individuality and worth as divinely established continues to inspire today. His example demonstrates a divine Principle, a basis for seeing our own God-given value, as well as others’. As we recognize that we are all God’s children – the spiritual expressions of His goodness and completeness, forever loved and cared for by Him – we come to see that none of us can ever truly be lost, ignored, or lacking individuality.
That’s because the real basis for our worth and value is not ego, pride, or an inflated sense of mortal self and competition with others. It is our unbreakable relation to God, divine Love – our “visibility” or value in God’s eyes. God cherishes and values every one of us as the expression of His being, just as the caring shepherd cherishes every single one of the sheep he is tending.
Each of us can learn to humbly accept our – everyone’s – origin as the offspring, or expression, of our divine Father-Mother. This may inspire us to do certain good deeds for others, to express in particular ways the selflessness and love inherent in us all. Above all, it enables us to feel our God-given dignity and to see others’ value and worth, too.