In 1 Corinthians 6, which was read on Sunday 14th January, St Paul tells the people of Corinth that they have been “bought and paid for”. Elsewhere, Paul tells his readers that they have not been bought with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Paul’s desire is that the readers, and we are now the readers, should set a high price on themselves, since God values them so much.
Those very words, “bought and paid for”, are very chilling when we think of them in the context of human trafficking. Women who have been forced into prostitution have heard them when they pleaded with their traffickers or with “clients” to spare them. Some have been told, “Shut up! I want what I paid for!” or “I paid for you and I want my money’s worth”.
It is heart-breaking to hear women working in prostitution saying, “I am only a piece of dirt”. This is what they have been reduced to; this is how they see themselves.
Modern society has got to the stage where there is a divide between those who are valued and valuable and those who are of less value or even expendable. Whole populations are dismissed as of little consequence. Who is good enough to be allowed to enter the USA? Whose life can be ended before birth? Who can be bought and sold for the gratification of other people?
Paul’s words are encouraging and challenging. Let us value ourselves, know who we are and what we are worth to God and let us value others so much that they will begin to value themselves, and know themselves to be precious in our eyes and in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.
Eilis Coe, rsc. 15 January 2018.
BOUGHT AND SOLD.