Friday, February 3, 2017

An Individual Imago Dei

In response to the Women’s March on DC a few weeks back, my sorority sister and sister minister’s wife, Kelly, started a hash tag that highlighted the kind of woman she wanted her own two daughters to look up to and emulate. Kelly uses #ImWithThisWoman to honor ladies that honor Christ and have deeply influenced her and her family. 

I have loved reading her Facebook posts edifying these women and turning our focus on to the positive things our God has done. It has sure encouraged me to point out the positive, godly role models God has placed in mine and my girls’ lives. 

Kelly’s postings have also inspired me to look for and see the Imago Dei in the individual. 

Since all of mankind, male and female, were created in His image, every individual bears that image, the image of God, or Imago Dei. 

Each and every individual, in addition to having the Imago Dei, also has other labels he or she carries. These labels can be as simple -or as complex- as their gender or their role as a parent. We can be identified by the color or our skin or even the side of town we live in. People are lumped into all kinds of categories, liberal/conservative, right/left, feminist, pro-this/anti-that, millennial.

What can get really crazy and complicated is that with every label we place on an individual, it comes loaded down with generalizations and stereotypes. Before we even realize it, we have found ourselves comparing, judging and condemning. We may not even know the name of a person, much less their past or present circumstances that would bring them to be in this place and this time, feeling this way. 

We may give ourselves grace to feel a certain way. We may excuse a close relative because we may understand where they’ve come from. We may lovingly overlook a good friend’s opposing viewpoint because we know them....

Yet, for the most part - I draw the proverbial line in the sand. It’s right or wrong. Us Vs. Them. Me Vs. You. All based on these labels and all the baggage that goes with them.    I don't show grace or compassion or understanding. I respond sinfully....

I am SO thankful God deals with us as individuals, without titles and labels. I am SO thankful that He is opening my eyes to see singular people with the Imago Dei. I am SO thankful He is helping me to respond to them that way too. 

As we observe those around us without the labels and through the lens of the Imago Dei, we can find compassion for what they’ve been through, kindness for their current circumstances and understanding (not necessarily agreement) for their viewpoint. We can reach out to them in Christ’s love and allow Him to reach them through us. 

Let’s look for and at the individual. Let’s see them as God does. Let’s love them like He does too. 

This way we can celebrate Him in the “good” like Kelly is doing AND we can respond like He would to the individual we just can’t understand - all because of the Imago Dei....

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