This may sound simplistic, but it's something I've been wanting to share for a long, long time with someone who will listen. It is simply this:
There is a huge difference between the words worth and worthy.
God alone is worthy. He is worthy of our worship, praise, adoration, and exaltation, not to mention (but I will, anyway) our entire beings--spirit, soul, and body (or heart, soul, mind, and strength). Worship, after all, is a celebration of the worthiness of God, which is borne out by the etymology of the word worship.
Worth, on the other hand, is not something we ascribe to God. Speaking of His worth is neither proper nor dignified. We ascribe worthiness to God, not worth. You do not ascribe worth to someone who is infinitely worthy.
I could be off base here, but when I think of worth, I think of the word value. Humanly speaking, value can certainly have an economic aspect, but there are people who, as the saying goes, know the price of everything and the value of nothing! Value is more than just a price tag. Value speaks of inherent worth and qualities to which a cost, or price tag, cannot be attached.
I've always wondered about the advisability of referring to people, who are created in the image of God, as "totally depraved," the first T in Calvin's TULIP. (I realize the word is depravity, not depraved!). Why go beyond what Scripture says in attaching the label "total depravity" to the human species? The truth is, people are simply dead in sin. Perhaps that's what the word depravity meant to Calvin. I do not know, though I could look it up.
The fact remains, one cannot get any worse than "dead in sins and trespasses," at least in terms of one's relationship with God. A corpse is incapable of having a relationship! That's what the Bible means by "dead in sins." Whether we've committed one sin, or a million and one sins, in God's sight we all are dead in sin.
Now I realize there are degrees of sin, and the Bible makes this very clear. God's judgment of sinners will be harsher one day for people guilty of heinous sins, such as mass murder and the like, than for your ordinary, "garden variety" sinner who refused to repent and believe. Nevertheless, the only type of Godward behavior a sinner can offer to God initially which has value in His estimation is belief, pure and simple.
Even belief or faith is a gift from God. He alone can make us alive in Christ. Our belief that sin separates us from God forever unless God interposes a sacrifice for sin, is the first step to a relationship with God; in other words, belief that no amount of good works can purchase salvation, and belief that Jesus is the only way to a relationship with holy God.
There is something of almost infinite worth in each human being. Notice I did not say "infinite worthiness," since worthiness, as I've already suggested, is an attribute of God alone. He alone is unqualifiedly good. He alone is goodness and holiness personified.
Christ truly died for sinners, but He did not die for worthless junk. God loves all humanity not because we are worthy of His love. Quite the opposite in fact. He loves us because we have worth in His eyes, not because He by nature is simply attracted to total depravity! God loves us in spite of our sin, which is the greatest manifestation of love, agape love. Jesus demonstrated that miraculous kind of love when He said on the cross,
"Father forgive them. They do not know what they are doing."
In conclusion, your final question is
"So, what am I missing?"
I suggest the missing piece of the puzzle you've created for us is that poverty, injustice, oppression, torture, the marginalizing of people, and discrimination against people on the basis of color, nationality, religion, socio-economic status, sex, age, disability, or the way they part their hair(!) are all offenses against people who have worth in God's eyes because they are created by God in His image, as tarnished as that image may be by sin.