The First Word
Just over a year ago my daughter Grace while speaking to a group at a conference shared something that keeps coming back to me time and time again. I am pretty sure it came to her while she was at L'abri in the Netherlands. She was talking about people and when we encounter every person we ought to view them in the following way; the first word about people ought to be, "this one is created in the Image of God." It came up in conversation again, last night.
In Christendom, we often view people as sinners first who need the Lord's forgiveness offered by the shed blood of Christ. This is true. All people are sinners and we, as Christians quite regularly have this as our first word about people. Sometimes it is in a judgmental tone other times with compassion. Those thoughts can often lead to "they are on the highway to hell and they are beyond help" or "I need to share the gospel with them."
The judgmental tone needs to be left for the Only One who has a right to judge the living and the dead. And I know that I need to grow in my compassion for other people. I think part of the key to doing just that is for my first word about people to be: this one is created in the Image of God. Then I just may view the effects of The Fall i.e. sin, on this particular, man, woman or child with compassion. Knowing full well, that I am a fellow person, created in the Image of God first and that I too have been scarred by my own sin and that even though my sins have been forgiven and that I am a new Creature, I still walk around with that sin nature. I still mess up, fail, fall and yes, I sin.
Do we wish to be lovers of people? Is not the greatest commandment to love the LORD with all your heart, soul and mind? And the second, to love your neighbor as yourself? Can not the story of the Good Samaritan answer the question who is my neighbor be answer with a single word, "everyone"?
I do indeed wish to be a lover of people. I fail to love regularly but I wish to begin again and again. If I remember that we did not just simply evolve from Lucy or Ardi but that we were fashioned, yea lovingly created in the Image of God for His Glory them I just may have success from time to time as well.
What a wonderful thing to be learning this lesson from my own child who is now a young woman. I am so grateful that God gave me the gift of being the mother of Grace, Katie and Michael and that He would involve me in the creation process.