Imago Dei: the image of God.
We are all made in the image of God.
And God has a never-ending number of facets about His image. We will never come to the end of discovering who God is.
But the problem is we try to fit Him into our own self-constructed image; looking only to ourselves to see what God is like. We confine God to the smallest box we can conjure up: ourselves.
We’re democrat or republican; OK so is God. We’re white, brown, black; well God must be too. The way we see the world must be the way that God sees the world.
But the 7.7 billion people inhabiting the earth were all made in the image of God, and we are all REALLY different from one another.
When I look around in my world and only see people that look like me, think like me, have the same socio-economic standing as me or the same political ideas as me, I’m missing out on an abundance of who God is.
Idolatry = blind adoration. What a fitting definition. That is precisely what we do. We turn a blind eye to the diversity around us; adoring ourselves over the discovery of others and ignoring the image of God in those who are different. I think that’s what racism is. It’s idolatry. We worship the image of ourselves, through the people we surround ourselves with, and dismiss the image of God that’s inside of people who might make us uncomfortable. Because heaven forbid God make us uncomfortable! We uphold ourselves and our own view as greater than anyone else’s. Our views, our perspective, our way of seeing the world becomes our god.
What I’m speaking of is different than disagreeing with someone or defending truth. This message is about how our personal comfort has wrongly taken the place at the top of our priority list. And we miss out on discovering more of who God is.
My America is different than your America. My church is different than your church. My culture is different than your culture. My language is different than your language. My politics are different than your politics. My skin is different than your skin.
And we draw lines. And fear creeps in little by little until the bricks we’ve laid up between us feel too tall to jump over, and now we have to knock some walls down.
But these differences are not right or wrong. They’re just different. And different is good and lovely.
As Ann Voskamp says, “You don’t have to see things the same to see the image of God in someone.”
We are the ones who turn these differences into right and wrong. We declare our preferences “right” and anything that conflicts must be “wrong.” We’d never come right out and say it. But the way we live our lives announces it loud enough.
Racism seems bigger than what we can do. And it is. You see the headlines: the hate, the anger, the years of hurt laid up on top of one another. I’m not trying to minimize the affects of racism. There are generations of past hurts to repent of and hard work to untangle the knots of injustice in many areas of society.
But it really does start with us.
And step one is: make God bigger.
Open our hearts and spirit and ask Him to show us who He really is. Repent of our own idolatry and humbly seek to expand our view of God.
What if we listened? Asked questions? Sought to understand before being understood? Oh the beauty of God we could discover in one another. How many facets of His image could be revealed to us?
When God is in His rightful place we have to shrink away. All of us: our preferences, our comfort, our ease. And when we shrink, there is now room for more of Him, more room for others to come close and show us something beautiful and different.