Made in the image of God
“I tried to be a people person, but people ruined it.” I recently saw this on a T-shirt and, unfortunately, it resonated with me. The area I probably struggle with the most is the outward Christian love toward everyone. While I do love them because Jesus loves them, I get annoyed very easily at the behavior of people. Speaking culturally, America has moved further and further away from God over the last sixty years, and we are seeing the effects of this move every day. Last year, 12 major cities hit all time high homicide records, 160 people were arrested during spring break last month in Panama city alone, and I am convinced that the instantaneous nature of streaming is negatively affecting our youth in almost every aspect of their lives and development, nurturing shortened-attention spans and curating an attitude of entitlement. Frankly, it’s easy to not like people. What’s difficult is switching off from that default setting and loving people regardless of their actions or attitudes.
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44)
How do we do that? It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to read it, but it’s a completely different task to do it. I have found that what helps the most in loving other people is remembering that they are made in the image of God.
“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.’” (Genesis 1:26a)
Whoever it is that you don’t like, whoever your enemy is, whoever is persecuting you—they are made in the image of God just as everyone is. Paul called us God’s masterpiece in Ephesians 2:10 and the truth that we are His masterpiece, created in His image, can change everything. It can help open your eyes to how God sees His creation. How would your perception and attitude toward others change if you constantly kept in mind that they are made in the image of God? It would probably stop you from indulging in lustful thoughts or going to the porn website. It would probably curb your anger and irritation toward those you find annoying. Dr. John Lennox once said, “We are beings made in the image of God, who have eternity in our hearts, so a materialist universe without meaning won’t satisfy us because we were made for something bigger.” It may very well be that those around you don’t know our God and don’t know they are made in His image—so they are searching for meaning with a materialist worldview and they are always coming up empty. Show grace to those around you, remember that they are made in the image of God and if they don’t know it, shine the Light they are looking for! Step out and lead them to their Creator in whose image they were made.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.