Kayla Mueller had a life that mattered.
Her name has been in the news lately because of her death at the hands of ISIS.
But her courage and sacrifice for the good of others will live on. She loved others, not because they looked like her or shared her tribal identity, but because she loved God and knew God loved them.
Kayla’s example made an impact on everyone now reading her story and her life mattered in particular to those whom she served and rescued. She is remembered especially by Julie, a young Yazidi girl, who knew Kayla as a protective older sister and true friend.
Kayla’s selfless attitude and actions are a true reflection of Christian love and is an example of a life that mattered for all the right reasons.
Does your life matter?
We all want our life to matter. My Christian faith has led me to believe human life has intrinsic value. But does this mean all life has equal value? Is your life worth the same to society as a serial killer’s life? Is my life equal in value to a President who is guarded by dozens of armed secret service agents?
The answer is both yes and no.
It depends on perspective. My life may have equal value to the President’s if you ask my own family and friends. However, I would expect that the answer would change if the random person from the street were asked and that is one reason why we do more to secure the President.
A President’s death would likely be far more disruptive to more people than my own and that gives their life more value as far as national security is concerned. It does not mean my life has less intrinsic value, but it does reflect a reality of life that does matter.
What we contribute and value matters.
President John F. Kennedy and his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had lives that mattered to someone. And, despite the fact Kennedy is responsible for more deaths than the man who killed him, his life was valued more than Oswald’s by many Americans.
Kennedy, in his inaugural address, challenged those listening to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” He had the right idea and how much we matter to others depends on what we do for them. Kennedy’s life mattered more to many people because he worked within their own established system rather than defy, resist or rebel against it.
Our value as individuals will be judged better or worse depending on what we contribute to the whole. Our outcomes, in part, will be shaped by our own attitudes good or bad and the respect we show to others. All people are supposed to have equal protection under the law. However, this does not mean all people contribute the same to society and that matters.
We live in a time where many have an entitled self-centered mindset and wish to be valued without being willing to make a positive contribution. Many Americans are only in it for themselves or people like them. When no life matters except our own then our own life loses value. When we treat others like they do not matter it hurts them and is sabotage to our own value.
Make your life matter for goodness sake.
We make our life matter more by loving all people as we wish to be loved. When we treat other people with love we create value where it did not exist before. By loving others as we wish to be loved we create value and make our life matter more as a result.
Yes, certainly that does not mean all people will value us. Some might despise us no matter what we do because of their hateful ideologies or judgemental assumptions about us. We cannot force others to love us or treat us as if our life matters. If our life doesn’t matter to someone then all the pleas, protests and demands for respect can’t change that. Even our kindness will not matter to some.
Nevertheless, we can always make others matter to us, we can always live a life that matters for the right reasons, and nobody, not even ISIS, can stop us.
Be like Kayla Mueller who died to save others.
My challenge is for all of my readers to go out and love someone who others do not care about or notice.
Find someone who is different from you (not your own race, family, culture, religious affiliation or political background) and then show them unconditional love. Love them as thoroughly and completely as the good Samaritan did.
Be like Jesus who laid down his own life so others, including his personal enemies, could find their salvation in his example and together have opportunity to live a more abundant life.
Live a life that transcends differences and expands the scope of love to all people deserving or undeserving alike.
Live a life that matters.