The Image of God

I still remember one of the things David emphasized the first time we hung out. It was that every human being is an image bearer (hence the name of his website), that within each of us is the likeness, the tselem of God.

Goth Girl
An Image Bearer
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It is oftentimes so hard for me to remain conscious of that fact.

And it’s difficult to ignore the guilt welling up within me at that admission. It’s not like I spend the day around murderers, rapists, and the like. ((Even then, that would be no excuse to forget that they too are image bearers.)) Working with the public, albeit in a small town, five days a week, I interact with a beautiful mix of people. I often forget they are all image bearers, though, because what I often witness is a potent reflection of the human condition.

Teenagers get their kicks by being destructive with our property, walking away from the mess while giggling. Parents threaten their kids with leaving them behind or beating them, simply for having a case of the “I wants” (If you’re not willing, as a parent, to properly deal with your kids’ desires, why take them to a toy department?). And God forbid that an Invisible Woman action figure is not readily available on the shelf!

Punk Guy
An Image Bearer
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I find myself at times concluding that far too many people are petty materialists who have little interest in things other than “self.” Okay, people are selfish; that’s hardly revelatory.

We are told in the Scriptures of a Son who willingly took sin upon Himself, dying in sinners’ stead, so that others may have a relationship with His Father. Selflessly was He beaten, selflessly was He pierced and poured out upon Golgotha.

Humanity bears His image, so much so that while we are given the freedom to kill & to eat cattle, fowl, and fish, we are told that the murderer of man must in turn be executed, so that He whose image we bear may exact proper judgment. ((Genesis 9:6. Capital punishment is inherent in the Noahic Covenant, which exists between Noah and his descendants (v. 9), including you and me.))

Homeless Woman
An Image Bearer
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I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself and others, particularly during this time of year which is supposedly marked by “holly jolliness” and a “yuletide spirit,” that our attitudes toward others is going to reflect our attitude toward God. Jesus could boldly demand that we not only love God but also our neighbors because He knew that they were of unspeakable value. Not only do they bear the image of the Creator, but they are given life and sustainment by Him from whom all blessings flow!

Yes, sin mars the image, but it cannot wipe it out completely. If Christmas is about “peace on Earth and good will toward man,” then check yourself: are you loving others as much as you can? When you see others, are you reminded of the Divine? I added several pictures from Flickr to this post; I’m making no claims to the spirituality of the people presented, but I will state that your attitude toward those features may just reflect your own spiritual health.

Muslim Man
An Image Bearer
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Jesus showed unspeakable compassion toward the so-called outcasts of His society; how do we treat those on the fringe of ours?

This Christmas, if you are more concerned with people who say “happy holidays” or “Merry Xmas” ((Christians were the first to use “Xmas,” by the way.)) than with loving others, take a step back and spend some time in reflective thought: If you have interest in wishing people a merry celebration of Christ, may His attitude & outlook toward others merrily flow forth from your life!

In conforming our attitudes to His by treating everyone with the dignity due an image bearer of God, we are embracing being the light and salt of the world, and we are actively moving toward true peace on Earth and good will toward man. In obeying Christ, we further establish and show forth the kingdom of God on Earth!

3 thoughts on “The Image of God”

  1. Rick,
    Very timely reminder man, well said! Such were we until we had been imputed the righteousness of Christ. An undeserved gift, a gift we share (light and salt) and give thanks for.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Awesome. Very well thought out and thought provoking. I commend you. It should make all Christians step back and evaluate how they treat others, especially at Christmas.

    Merry Christmas and May God Bless You and Yours in the Years to Come.

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