Written by Harvey Cozart
I remember sitting at my office desk and listening to a lady share what life was like for her growing up and her experience being homeless. In her appearance, I would have assumed that she was in her late sixties, but I was shocked to know she was only in her thirties. Her face seemed weathered and aged by life’s storms and signs of hope seemed to flee from her eyes. After she finished pouring out to me all of the tragedies and trauma in her life, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “my mother told me that I wasn’t worth anything, maybe because I’m worthless this is what I deserve.” Her words were so painful to hear, but the resolve in her voice was even more painful. How could she not know that there was someone that loved her beyond words, that He would give His life for her; that He did give His life for her?
When I take the time to read the Bible, I often find comfort in these words, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”(Genesis 1:27). God created us in His image and in His likeness. We should be encouraged that we have been created in His image. But often it can be so hard to look in the mirror and see the value or worth in ourselves when we have convinced ourselves that we are not. But God sees so much more than what we see.
There is a scripture in the Bible, which says, we have been fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). In Jesus’ teaching, He alluded to humans being more valuable than any of God’s creation on the earth (Matthew 6:26). At The Nathaniel Mission, we have three guiding principles that shape the way we operate, and this story perfectly explains the first principle, which is that we strive to be a restorative community that values all people. This woman felt as if she had no worth and that nobody valued her, and it was up to us to show her the love of Jesus, the man that values her life more than anything, even over His own. I remember looking back into those hopeless tear-filled eyes and saying God created you and loves you more than you can image. I told her that God’s thoughts toward her are of good and not of evil. When I told her that, this huge grin came on her face. I wanted her to know that Nathaniel Mission is a restorative community which values all people and that everyone has a place at the table. And that God cares for her and loves her unconditionally. My prayer is that we would all have a posture of grace and humility, and that we would endeavor to treat everyone with great value and respect.
Harvey Cozart, Director of Operations
Doctor of Ministry, Asbury Theological Seminary
Decades of experience leading a variety of ministries
A comic book nerd and college basketball star at EKU