How can I help my friend see her true worth in being made in God’s image and in being loved by Him rather than seeing her worth and her happiness in getting married?

How can I help my friend see her true worth in being made in God’s image and in being loved by Him rather than seeing her worth and her happiness in getting married? The balance between emphasizing the goodness of marriage and yet that it’s not ultimate is really hard…

Thank you for the opportunity! God bless you.

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Dear Mary,

Thank you for such a poignant question. Understanding our true worth is something every person wrestles with to some extent, and for various reasons. We’re all prone to measure it in the wrong ways, and sometimes the church unwittingly contributes to this. Our (right) desire to honour marriage can sometimes unfortunately lead us to somewhat idolise it. Some Christians are left feeling that they’re not really fully mature, grown-up Christians unless and until they marry. Sometimes Christian women are left feeling that their womanhood isn’t fulfilled if they’re not married with children.

So it helps to have a more balanced and nuanced understanding of marriage. It matters far more than we often tend to think. God means it to be a signpost to the love he shows his people in Christ. Earthly marriage is meant to point to the ultimate heavenly marriage between Jesus and his bride, the church. But for the very same reason it also means marriage matters less than we often tend to think –– it can’t be the ‘be all and end all’ of life if, in fact, it points to the ‘be all and end all’ of life. If our relationship with Jesus is what is finally ultimate, then marriage – for all its glory – is penultimate. We don’t need to be married to be a full and whole Christian believer –– Christ is what makes us that.

More generally, we need to know that our worth is intrinsically grounded in having been made by God in his image. We’re fallen humans, but that doesn’t mean we’re sub-human, or merely potentially human. This is significant. A previous generation were (generally) moralistic and needed to be shown they were sinners. Gospel presentations tended to major on what the fall meant, and somewhat take the doctrine of being made in God’s image for granted. This generation is (generally) anxious and needs to know it has worth. So our gospel presentations need to start in Genesis 1, not Genesis 3.

God made every one of us, and meant to. He came up with the idea of each and every one of us in the first place –– and was having a good day when he did. None of us is a mistake, None of us isn’t meant to be here. That doesn’t mean we’re everything we’re meant to be. But it does mean we don’t need to look to achievements like marital status to find our worth.

I hope that helps in some way :slight_smile:
Sam

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