we are all image-bearers

This post was first shared as issue 19 of These Sacred Words

Everything lately feels exceptionally heavy. The injustice and hatred I see sickens me, and my words do not feel adequate to address the brokenness of this moment. My attempts to write and share where I am in all of this feel feeble.

And I know my words here will be incomplete in addressing the depth of all that is happening, but for now, this is my best attempt at speaking hope into the darkness. I pray that my words will encourage you and remind you of the hope we have.

The words that keep circling in my mind as I see all the injustice and hate and darkness are “this is not how it’s supposed to be.” 

This is not how it’s supposed to be. This is not how our world was created, but this is the state that has existed since the fall, since that day when we chose to seize autonomy and see ourselves as gods, trusting in our own wisdom instead of in the good authority of our Creator (Gen. 3:6). Since that day, the world has been cloaked in sin and darkness.

We see its effects in so many horrible, ugly ways. Image bearers refusing to see the image of God in one another. Image bearers not hearing, seeing, and caring for one another. There is so much hurt, so much hate, so much darkness.

This is not how it’s supposed to be. We were created by God, in his very image, to exist in perfect unity with God and with one another (Gen. 1:26-27). Before the fall, everything was good, every relationship was whole, everything was perfect and so so good (Gen. 1:31).

So what do we do? In this “not how it’s suppose to be world” how are we to act? What is our role? How do we get our world back to the way it was, when everything was declared good?

God’s character is one of redemption and restoration and pure goodness. As created beings made in his image, we are tasked with the same role God has: restoring and redeeming, bringing truth and light to the darkness. By the power of his Spirit in us, we are able to join him in this work, seeking to bring all people into the perfect unity that existed in the garden.

So how do we do this today? How do we meet this particular moment of brokenness with light and hope and truth? How do we bring light to the darkness?

We remember Genesis 1. We remember that we are all image-bearers, and we boldly proclaim this truth: that all people, whether black or white, Christian or atheist, young or old, ALL people bear God’s image, which therefore demands that they be respected, valued, and deemed worthy. It is this truth that drives us, especially in this moment, to demand justice for, to speak boldly on behalf of, and to love our black brothers and sisters.

We seek to join God in the work he is doing to redeem and restore the world. We come to Jesus in submission, trusting in his reconciling work in us and in our world, and then we commit ourselves to fight boldly for unity and reconciliation between all of God’s people.

This darkness, this disunity, this hate. This is not how it’s supposed to be. There is so much that needs to change. May we start with the change that needs to happen in our own hearts: listening, understanding, softening, grieving, loving. May we use our voices to boldly speak on behalf of our brothers and sisters. May we humbly take up our role as agents of reconciliation, calling one another to be reconciled to God and to one another. May we find hope in the truth that this is not how it will always be… that a day is coming when the world will be healed, all relationships will be restored, and everything will be made right.

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