There is a sense in which God loves everyone in the whole world unconditionally, for this comes from His nature for "God is love" (Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8; 1 Jn 4:8,16). It is a 'merciful love'; He sends the rain on the righteous and unrighteous, and does not punish people immediately for their sins, not wanting any to perish but wants everyone to come to repentance (Mt 5:45; Rom 3:23; 2 Pet 3:9). Although God's love extends to all people, not everyone will be saved (Ps 103:8; Mt 25:46; Mk 16:16; Lk 8:12). He is also a God of justice and will not let sin go unpunished (Isa 30:18, 61:8; Rom 5:21, 6:23; 2 Thes 1:6). So while God loves everybody, He does have a greater affinity for those who love Him, those who have acknowledged their sin and by faith entered into His family by receiving Jesus as their Saviour – these He declares "will be my people" and in fact "children of God" (Ex 20:6; Ps 119:132; Jn 1:12, 14:21,23; 2 Cor 6:16; 1 Jn 3:1).

Humans are to be valued more highly than material possessions or personal gain, with Jesus stating, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" for it is only redeemed people who will be in heaven (Mk 8:36).

All people are created in the image of God and deserve respect for that reason

Jesus died to redeem fallen humanity who had been created in the image of God, not the physical world that was also tarnished by sin (Gen 1:26,27; Mk 10:45; 1 Pet 1:18,19).

God works through people, to achieve His plans. He is more interested in our availability to be vessels or channels for His ability to operate through, rather than any talent we may think we have. After all it is He who gives us the ability, for “He is the treasure in [us] earthen vessels” (Deut 8:18; Act 9:15,16; 2 Cor 4:7). He will provide the talent if we provide the means through which that can be outworked. Mary said, “Be it unto me according as You have said” (Lk 1:38).  Both God and Satan work through people to achieve their respective goals. God wants to have a living vibrant relationship with us, which radiates out to those around (Mt 5:14,15). Other people observe us to see if our Christianity is real. Do we relate and enter into the lives of those around us, to challenge them to move closer to God? We need to both pray and act when getting involved in doing God’s work – praying as if it all depends on God, while acting as if it all depends on us. As we are naturally self-centered we need a purpose outside ourselves to live for.

It is through people, things and circumstances that God addresses ungodly issues in our lives. Our fellow human beings annoy and frustrate us (as we also irritate others), yet, like work, they too are a blessing and life would be dull without them. Genuinely extending forgiveness and having a right heart attitude towards others is essential, seeing them as

People are one of the means God uses to refine our character

God’s special instrument to outwork His grace in our life. Treating others as we would like to be treated is the golden rule of life. This includes loving, praying for and blessing even those who persecute us, besides trying to live at peace with all people (Mt 5:44; Lk 6:31; Rom 12:10-20). We are not to fear people as this brings a snare that hinders us living for God (Prov 29:25; Mt 10:28).

Prayer is to be made for all people, including those in authority, who are to be obeyed – and even if we don’t agree with the person themselves we are to respect the position they represent (1 Tim 2:1,2).

See also: acceptance, consideration, golden rule, mankind, others, outward focused, relationships.