The Image Of God: How Far Does the Apple Fall From the Tree?

We had dear friends over for a meal last night. I was impressed once again with how easy it is to see the Father in His children.

I’m not referring to the obvious design in the complexities of the human organism. It is probably healthy that  hanging out with my friends does not prompt meditations on the mysteries of biology.

I’m thinking more of our moral and relational make up—things that are common to all humankind. The ability to make moral choices. The precious gift of a conscience. The capacity and desire for love. Creativity. Appreciation for beauty and joy in sharing it. A vast array of emotions. Humor. Unique identity.

Certainly these things are corrupted to varying degrees as a result of sin. Consciences are tampered with. Selfishness hinders love. Creativity is warped and beauty is exploited. Diversity gives rise to insecurity and pride.

But in every person, there is abundant evidence of the glory of God. Humankind is both the natural and intentional outflow of a loving and relational God. We are beings who have the ability to receive and reciprocate God’s love. It follows that the different facets of our relationality would reflect aspects of how God, Himself, relates.

No matter how damaged, guarded, seared, or abused—the original design of goodness and beauty can be found in every person. Sometimes the most obnoxious and difficult of behaviors are only indicators of the precious vulnerability of the human heart and the tragedy of sin.

The family that was in my home last night are lovely people, endearing reflections of the beauty of their Creator. I don’t have to look very hard to see the things He put into them.

But when the loveliness is buried a little deeper, I should still see it. Insofar as I am able, I should try to see people the way their heavenly Father sees them. If a person rejects Him, God may be grieved, hurt, even angry. But He also sees His precious, little child and all the beauty and potential inside. He longs with a Father’s heart to see them restored and safe in His arms. I need to see God’s kids through the layers of anything that might be offensive to me.

The same goes for those who have already given their lives to God, including myself. The Holy Spirit is working in each of us to wipe off the tarnish, repair the damages, and restore the original design. The pure and precious is there. When I look at my brothers and sisters in Christ, I would do well to see the delightful (though imperfect) child whom God cherishes.

I wonder if I wouldn’t just reflect God a little better if I did so?

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2 thoughts on “The Image Of God: How Far Does the Apple Fall From the Tree?”

  1. Canice –

    Sure!

    It’s really too bad that an awareness of our uniqueness causes us to look around at others and decide we are either superior or inferior to them.

    Actually the diversity in the human race means something about God. He likes variety. He wants to have a unique relationship with each human soul.

    If only I could rejoice in that and try to be the best “me” I can be for Him, instead of constantly being tempted to see how I “measure up”, resulting either in arrogance or insecurity.

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