Saturday, August 20, 2016

When We Can Only Love Those Who Bear God’s Image

“And just as we have borne
the image of the man made of dust,
we will also bear
the image of the heavenly man.
— 1 Corinthians 15:49 (HCSB)
God showed me something at the shopping mall.  Every individual was beautiful before me; every unique soul, living a matchless life, in the service of hope, for a purpose they determined as best.  As I looked everywhere, all about me was the same image; myriads of people, all beautiful, all beloved, all bearing the same resemblance.  And as I looked, God did something in my heart; all indifference, intolerance, and cynicism ebbed away, and with it, all vanity.  Suddenly, my heart was so full of love, my mind had no space for anything else.
This experience lasted ten minutes.  Then I became my troubled self all over again.
But God proved something to me.  The more we see what is patently true in every person, the more we see what’s true within ourselves — we’re all due love.  To love and be loved.  If we can determine that another person is due love, surely we’ll ascribe the same beneficence to ourselves.
As I looked about me in the shopping mall — a menagerie of cultures, colours, and creeds to be seen — I saw the common plight of humanity: the striving of each one for a life of hope, for justice and mercy, and a life of purpose.  With purpose, all humanity can struggle through, but without purpose any privileged life is a prison.
Our personalities make it possible that we could worship and serve God.  And when we worship and serve God, we’re closest to bearing His image.  But whether we worship or serve Him or not, we still bear His image, even as we bear the image of Adam in our sin.
When we realise that every single human being is sacred, precious in God’s sight, not for what they’ve done, but for who they are, then we begin interacting with all life differently.  And, whilst we ought not to idolise another human being, we worship and serve God well when we love those who bear His image.
When our hearts of full of love, our minds have no space for indifference or hatred.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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