Have you ever been mistaken for one of your siblings or been told that you’re the spitting image of your mom or dad? I would guess that some of you have, especially since a number of you in our church have a twin brother or sister. I know it may not always seem like a compliment to hear that we look like someone else in our family (of course you’re better looking) but I think it’s usually meant to be a good thing. The other day we were at home with the kids and I don’t know how we got on the subject but we talked about some of the different physical traits they’ve inherited from us. I think we said that Colson inherited my lips (poor guy), Ellie got my nose (poor girl), and Avery got Renae’s hair (thank goodness). Of course, they’ve inherited other physical traits of ours but that’s just part of the DNA or genes we share in the Kishimoto-Hara family. I’m sure you could identify a number of traits that run in your family as well and I think it’s beautiful the way that works.
Recently, I started reading the book of Genesis for my quiet time. In chapter 1, we see that God also handed down traits or characteristics of His to mankind. It says after God created the heavens and the earth, He created mankind in His likeness. Genesis 1:27 says “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Verse 31 goes on to say “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Just think about that for a moment. You and I, and every other person we know, bears the image of God (the “imago Dei”). Now this doesn’t mean that we are God or are equal to Him. But it does mean, that we possess similarities or traits of our Heavenly Father. It’s in our DNA, our genes. We have been endowed with a physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational nature that sets us apart from the rest of creation, and we have been given dominion over the things of this earth. While sin has marred our nature, we still bear God’s image. That means you, me, your neighbor, the people you work with, the kids at school, those in the hospital, the homeless, the elderly, those in prison, the people we don’t even know but read about in other countries, etc. have all been made in God’s image. That makes them uniquely special and extremely valuable. It makes every person worthy of dignity and respect.
These days it seems quite easy to forget this truth about the value of each person and how God views them as His prized creation. Doesn’t it seem like there’s an unusually high level of animosity between people these days, whether it be in international relations, politics, race issues, education, healthcare, safety precautions? It is all too easy to take sides and think badly of those who don’t agree with you. I know it can be for me. Granted these are complicated issues and there are many valid opinions on either side of an argument. But all the more reason we, as Christ’s followers, should uphold the dignity and respect of other people, even those we disagree with. I Peter 2:17 says “show proper respect to everyone.” Other Bible translations say “honor everyone” and “treat everyone with high regard.”
Each of us has inherited traits, in the form of genes, from our mother and father. We don’t look exactly like them but we bear a resemblance to them. Likewise, we have the DNA of our Heavenly Father. Though we have been marred by sin and don’t look exactly like we should, Scripture says we bear His image and so does our fellow man. Let us always remember then to treat everyone with dignity and respect for this is God’s will. Lastly, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then take heart, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that “you are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.” On our spiritual journey together, God is making us into the people He wants us to be.