As the final two days of 2009 draw to a close, I am looking back at the road I have travelled this year. What has become especially clear to me is that we are are all created in the image of God. Even when the divine image is marred and barely recognizable, it is there and is worth restoring. I have come to realize that Christ's mission is to facilitate the recovery of the divine image (Colossians 3:10) in humanity. Moreover, I have understood that my mission is the recovery of the divine image in others.
So what exactly does "recovery of the divine image" mean? It means the recovery of human dignity. I find that people are so beat down these days. They are ashamed at having to receive assistance for the first time in their lives. Young people are disillusioned that they can't begin an independent life in this economy. And then there are those who are enslaved by addiction.
My perspective has changed in the past year because I have allowed my heart to be touched with the stories that people tell. Where there is discouragement, disillusionment, or addiction, there is always a story behind it.
I have learned that people don't need our pity, they need our respect. Respect comes from our recognition that we share the divine image and that we have the same value before God.
More than respect, people need love. How empty, how alone, how isolated we are if no one loves us. If no one cares if we live or die, what greater pain is there?
I have learned that the only legitimate expression of faith is love. I believe that God sees our love. I've learned that if I want to find Christ, He is in "the least of these."
I've learned these things and I can't go back....