- Deprivation. The love-less child is likely to be beset by feelings of worthlessness all his/her life (Matt 18:1-6)
- Moral judgementalism. Religious in-groups have their categories for acceptance and rejection - a constant point of conflict between Pharisees and Jesus (Matt 9:10-12; John 8:1-11). Pastoral care is not a reward to being 'good' or conforming. He asked us the question: How far do we match with the pattern of Jesus - 'I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners.' Is there moral bias in our pastoral care.
- Self-interest. Priest and Levite, the unforgiving servant, the rich man with a beggar at his gate etc....all have their modern counterparts. 'I can't afford the time...space....can't take the risks...I mind my own business....will it be to my advantage to bother about this person? How useful is he/she to me?
- Rivalry. We cannot eliminate competition but when children have to compete for love, (as in some families), or for recognition (as in some schools), the perpetual losers are devalued.
- Self-destruction. Judas Iscariot is a symbol of the self-destructive power released through sin. But much self-destruction is less dramatic, a slow erosion of self-worth, a creeping fear of inadequacy, failure and rejection. And what about prolonged sickness, handicap, redundancy, old age?
After these five signs he asked us to be honest about in what circumstances we been or felt devalued. What challenges lie here?