I spent a day with two friends who are, quite simply, amazing people. I have always wanted friends like them. Friends who inspire, who combine laughter and deep conversation all within a short time span. Friends who sit with you and help you name your year and bullet point ways to embrace life in a fuller way.
We sat at Panera and decided to name our years with ways that we want to live more fully this year. I chose presence. One chose intentionality. One chose exploration. We called it PIE.
Lesson: Life is better surrounded with people. Dreams are bigger when they are dreamed together. Memories are formed when lives are shared. Love exists because God made people to love.
If you want a way to improve your year? Your life? Find people. Connect with quality friends.
I am acutely aware that people are not always this awesome. I tend to lean the other direction a lot of the time. If the events in our world are any indication, people can be pretty terrible sometimes. And as a pastor from home says, “It is not real community until there is someone there that you wish wasn’t.” Relationships are hard, people hurt each other, and sometimes it really seems like it would be best if we just holed ourselves away in our rooms and never talked to anyone.
There have been times in my life where I thought that people just plain stunk. I have been hurt, rejected, and “benched” as a friend. I have watched people that I care about get hurt by others.
But here is the truth: Every. Single. Person. is an image bearer of Christ.
What would happen if we started treating one another that way? What if the homeless man you drive by was an image bearer of the God of the universe? What if your ex-best friend possessed the image of God within her? What if you viewed that person who bothers you in small group/class/the office as a reflection of the all-powerful, all-loving Savior?
It might seem like an exaggerated statement, but it is not: Our world would change if we viewed people this way.
How would viewing people that way affect how we treat one another? The words we say, the thoughts we have, the actions we use?
Would we really say You are not welcome in our church or chant Death to _____ if we believed – honestly believed – that every person possessed dignity and worth because they were created in the Image of the One who created dignity and worth? He spoke us into existence and spoke, “It is good” over us. All of us.
I could continue, but really all I want you to consider is that each and ever person who lives or has ever lived possessed the Image of God within them. Obviously, all are muddied with sin and brokenness, but the beauty of the Resurrection is that Jesus made it possible for us to begin to scrape that dirt off so that the masterpiece can shine through. If we allow Him to, God can begin to restore us to that original image. And as we learn this about ourselves, we can begin to view others the same – and we can help them rediscover this within themselves. In our reflecting our own possession of the Imago Dei, we can illuminate it within those around us, walking them into further wholeness and abundance of life.