This week I am going back to where it all started, Imago Dei. If you have seen the Latin titles and do not really understood what they mean, let me explain it to you. I preached a sermon on Imago Dei a couple of years ago and it had a great impact on me. I found myself using it practically in my life on a regular basis. If someone cut me off driving or I got cussed out at church (believe it or not, it happens often at Under Over Fellowship), I found myself saying, “Imago Dei.” This was a reminder to myself that this person, in spite of their behavior, was made in the Image of God and I needed to treat them as such. This was so powerful in my life, I found myself asking, “What other principles can I put into action to put legs on my faith and discipleship?” And not only that, “Can I develop it in such a way that I can teach it to others?” So that is where I am. I have four weeks to go on my current writing project, but I thought it might be good to go back to the beginning so readers would have a better understanding where I am coming from. I will be posting all six days of Imago Dei this week, and then plan to return with new material next week.
PART THREE OF SIX
There is power in Imago Dei in the way we see other people.
My bride Sarah and I did a bit of traveling last summer. We took one of our girls Kloe to nursing camp at Auburn University and stayed a night in Montgomery, Alabama, on the way. While we were there we went and saw the church Martin Luther King, Jr. was pastor of from 1954-1960, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, as well as the parsonage he lived in down the street. A week later, we saw a friend in Memphis on the way back. While in Memphis, we stopped at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, which is where Dr. King was assassinated.
It is heartbreaking to go through the Civil Rights Museum and see how we treat each other; how people were abused and killed because they were perceived as different. I was reading about the parsonage where Dr. King and his family lived in Montgomery. In 1956, while he was across town speaking, his house was bombed. Upon hearing the news, he rushed home, along with many of his supporters. Thankfully, his family was uninjured. His supporters were fired up and ready to exact revenge on the perpetrators. This is what Dr. King said to them:
“Take your weapons home. He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Remember that is what Jesus said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. Be good to them. That is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love.” I believe Dr. King understood better than most the meaning of Imago Dei.
One of the very first things we learn in Sunday School as a child is the song Jesus Loves the Little Children. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” Every person you meet on the street-guess what? Imago Dei. They are made in the Image of God. The guy who cusses me out? Imago Dei. The Dallas Cowboys fan? Imago Dei (this is for my good friends Melvin and Rodney). The guy who cuts me off in traffic? Imago Dei (and this one is a reminder for myself!). God loves them just as much as He loves me.
The crazy thing to me is that some of the most hateful people can be proclaiming followers of Christ. We cannot see others through the eyes of Christ and hate. We must love our enemy and those that may be difficult or different than us.
As believers, we need to train ourselves to see everyone we encounter as made in the Image of God because it is biblical truth. God does not discriminate and neither should we. I know that if we live our lives this way it will change everything.
Because there is power in Imago Dei in the way we see other people.
Just for today, meditate on this truth.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Four….