People are fascinating. I love sitting in a mall or an airport watching the human beings stream past, all with their different hairstyles and different destinations and different pasts. As much as I enjoy observing people, it doesn’t mean that my natural tendency is to introduce myself and become best friends with them.
You see, I have people for that. People who look a lot like me. Who come from similar backgrounds. Who think like me.
I see all those other people on Facebook. Those people who don’t think like me. Who, in fact, hate the way I think. I see them outside my kids’ school. Those people who are struggling through a hard life. Who are caught in a cycle of poverty that seems like it will never be broken. I see them standing on the corner, holding signs, begging for help, with little children at their feet. I see those other people protesting the things that I hold precious. I see them standing on courthouse steps, fighting for the wrong things. I see those other people in shackles on TV, ducking their heads to hide from the cameras. I see them filling movie screens with dark and harmful images and ideas.
And, my temptation is to write those “other” people off. To decide that they aren’t worth thinking much about. That they are someone else’s problem or hopeless cases. But, that thinking is sinful and wrong.
The truth is that each and every human being on this planet was created in God’s image. Yes, even the ones that we feel like pummeling. Even the ones who smell bad. Even the ones who are unique. The ones who are loud. The ones who are quiet. The beautiful ones and the ones who are made fun of. This whole crazy mess of humanity is created to reflect certain attributes of God. And, somehow, thinking of the fella who infuriates me on Facebook as an image-bearer helps me to love him a little better.
I really want to stop putting people into “like me” or “not like me” categories and just see them as “like God.” At least in some ways. In all people we can see Him reflected here and there. We all have spirits. We all have a moral code written on our hearts. We can be kind. We can be gracious. Even the rudest, loudest person can sometimes show compassion. These are reflections of God’s attributes.
We just have to look closer.
Maybe this is why Jesus said that whatever we do to “the least of these” we’ve done to Him. Look close. We can see God’s image everywhere we turn. And, this just might be the beginning of learning to love like Christ does.