Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

How do we define ourselves? Not all cultures are the same. In the United States we tend to identify ourselves by what we do. Our identity is very much wrapped up in our profession and our activities. Some other cultures have more emphasis on who we are related to.
I would like to propose that the most fundamental truth about each of us is that we are a son or daughter of God. No equivocation. No exceptions. No caveats. I am a son of God.
This reality is the basis of my dignity and every other person’s too. I have value and worth because of who made me. I am a son of the King. Nothing can change that fact. No matter what I do, or don’t do. No matter wealthy or poor. No matter where I live. I am a son of God. I am valuable.
This is true of every person. Poor or rich. Black or white. Cop or criminal. Engineer or bus boy. Our culture does not seem to get this.
The implications of this are vast and can redeem and heal our culture. If my value comes from the fact that I am made in God’s image, then nothing I do can diminish my value/worth. I may do things that cause me to warrant punishment, but even while I am paying that debt, I do so as a dignified child of God. What we do matters, but does not affect our dignity.
Our right to be treated like a son or daughter of God comes from God, not from elected officials, or a king, or a prime minister, or a dictator. Rather, my right to be treated with dignity comes from my “sonship” or “daughterhood.”
When we remember this it becomes possible to denounce a behavior, while respecting the person who is doing the behavior. This extends to the way we disagree with someone’s opinion. We can be opposed to the idea while remaining respectful of the person. When we lose sight of the fact that our human dignity comes from God, then the inevitable outcome is division and a lack of respect for each other.
We need to recover our soul. We are meant to be “One nation, under God.” It is only possible for us to become one nation when we place ourselves under God and remember who we are.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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