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Shalom - the offer of wholeness

Worth Unlimited recognises that the nature of faith is dynamic and on-going, that within the Christian community there are different perspectives and cultures and that the Kingdom is to be found in many surprising places. That Kingdom is characterised by justice, peace, humility, love and compassion especially for those on the margins of society.

Worth Unlimited is underpinned by the biblical understanding of Shalom, God’s concern for wholeness in both individual and corporate life. We therefore seek to work with all concerned for the common good.

Shalom must also always be active; it is a noun that is shaped from a verb. It has in-built energy to work hard to establish and achieve its goals; “Seek shalom and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14) is an essential expectation. Shalom is also holistic in the truest sense of the word. It is only truly present when it is active and engaged in bringing about radical change in three overlapping areas of people’s lives: well-being, justice and integrity.

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All material needs must be met: shalom means that everyone has enough food to eat, clothes to wear, physical health, a home to live in, a job to be able to provide for themselves and others; everything that makes for wholesome human life - a strong sense of personal fulfilment, a feeling of security and have a deep sense of dignity. Young people must have sufficient, succeed and be safe; want and failure are not shalom. Many struggle on the edge of society; they lack personal, social and life skills. They feel excluded from education and training and so regular work becomes increasingly remote. For the most marginalised and socially excluded young people in our society their only real choice seems to be crime, drug pushing or prostitution in order to gain some financial independence. Shalom requires that we at Worth Unlimited strive to meet these needs.

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All relationships must be right and just: shalom means there must be social justice, positive human relationships as they should be – personal, local or global. The biblical understanding of ‘justice’ is the process ‘to put everything right’. Many young people’s already difficult circumstances are exacerbated by a breakdown in relationships at many levels, with their families, authorities and therefore society in general and sometimes even among their peers. This not only fractures communication and the ability to build and grow essential relationships, but it also creates deep wells of anger, resentment and even hate. They feel like victims or misfits – them against the world. Trapped within a web of real or perceived injustice they fail to thrive. Motivated by this shalom demand Worth Unlimited works to ‘put things right’.

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All people must have integrity in character: shalom means that each person is upright and truthful, dependable, honest and just. They display the moral and spiritual qualities of wisdom and maturity. Young people, who find themselves left behind or left out in our society, frequently develop the negative self-image that anyone on the margins of their own communities develops about themselves. This is only reinforced and amplified by the seeming success story of other young achievers around them. This low self-esteem fragments them emotionally and spiritually and affects their sense of self worth and the desire to make the most out of life. It damages their core integrity. Inspired by this shalom imperative Worth Unlimited works to make a significant contribution in changing this, helping young people to transform their view of themselves and enabling them to make a valued contribution to their wider world.

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The Shalom of God’s Kingdom is most fully expressed in and experienced through the life, teaching, death and rising again of Jesus Messiah (the Christ). He is the ‘Prince of Shalom” and of His Shalom there will be no end (Isaiah 9:6&7). His self sacrificial dying was for our Shalom (Isaiah 53:5), making possible reconciliation with God and of all fractured relationships. Jesus has made “Shalom through the blood shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20). He Himself is our Shalom (Ephesians 2:14). The Good News of Shalom is through Jesus Christ who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36).Through Jesus, God makes possible liberation from all that destroys Shalom in the lives of individuals, families, communities, people and nature. This totally transforming experience of Shalom is on offer through trusting in Him. To those whose broken lives were restored Jesus said “your trust has made you whole. Go into Shalom” (Luke 7:50). Worth Unlimited exists to enable broken and flawed young people to experience God’s transforming Shalom in Jesus Messiah for themselves.

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Shalom is fundamentally about hope. It clearly declares not only how things should be but also how they shall be. Young people on the margins of society today often have little hope and much despair. The shalom vision is there to inspire them that things can be different and to energise the Worth Unlimited team as they work to make that a reality in their lives.

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