5. Made in God’s Image: Honor and Respect?

5. Made in God’s Image: Honor and Respect?

5. Made in God’s Image: Honor and Respect? 

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… So God made man; in the image of God He made him; male and female He made them.” (Gen. 1:26-27). 

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. It is immortals whom we joke with, marry, snub and exploit.” (C S. Lewis).

Every human person carries God’s holy fingerprint. Therefore all of human life is sacred, and we all participate one way or another in the sanctity of human life. Every person we see is sacred, set apart to represent and reflect a holy God. That person we love to hate is sacred. And so is each of us. We all have a sacred center that can never be fully erased, since we all bear the image of God.
Since we are all image-bearers, let us treat each other accordingly. Let’s not limit our perspective of someone to that person’s chosen identity. Instead, each of us can certainly choose to recognize the central identity in each person, the fact that each person is created to resemble God. Let us treat each human humanely, as an image-bearer worthy of respect, empathy and compassion. God is saying to each of us… Every person is sacred to me, you are not to despise, disrespect or mistreat my handiwork!
Every person you don’t like, or who is doing something you don’t like; every person you don’t understand, or you don’t want to understand; every person you look down on simply because she is beneath you… All of them have something in common: Every person is made in the image of God, a hand-crafted original, breathing with the very breath of the Creator, possessing a dignity above the rest of creation; Each person is individually loved by a personal God, who in fact died for that person. God in the flesh would have sacrificed himself for that person if s/he was the only living person on earth.
Believe it or not, God continues to identify with each person. If we mistreat a fellow image-bearer, God takes it personally. When we disrespect someone else, God objects and is affronted. “Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator.” (Proverbs 17:5). Likewise, when we show compassion, we affirm our Maker. Loving others is a primary way we show our love for God. When we love other people, we are respecting and honoring the handiwork of God.

When we forget that a person is an image-bearer, we essentially are dehumanizing and dishonoring that person. Instead, let us humanize every person before we ignore, demean or judge them.  Let us embrace the sublime humanity of each person we meet. To honor the image of God in a person doesn’t mean we endorse what they are doing or not doing.  Each and every person is sacred: gay or straight; law-breaking or law-abiding; rich or poor; all races, all religions, all ethnic groups; each gender; every age, old or young; disabled or able-bodied; undereducated or well-schooled; rural or urban; mentally impaired or not; homeless or not; emotionally troubled or at peace; progressive or traditional; promiscuous or chaste; dreamer or realist; weak or strong. Everyone you see is sacred and deserves our honor and respect. Let us learn to identify each other with our common identity, made in the image of Christ, and thus of priceless value.