I love when my daughter draws me pictures. There is something about a scribbled picture of stick people that makes me smile. As she has gotten older her pictures have gotten more advanced and she has actually started to assign specific physical qualities to each of our family members. Mom is shorter than dad yet taller than sister. Dad is the tallest and has the least hair… (well hardly any hair actually). Girls wear pink, dad wears green (my favorite color) and we all have long legs and proportionally large hands.
Interestingly enough the older she gets the closer the image on the paper is to reality. She is starting to add attributes that reflect our likeness. As the artist, my daughter loves her art masterpieces. I can’t image the level of joy God finds in his creation.
Genesis 1 says that humans have been made in his image:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’”
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
God then goes on to describe his special creation as very good. (Gen. 1:31) The creator was satisfied with his stick figures. Some tall, some short. Some with sparse hair and some with big feet, but all unique, special and artistically perfect. Why? Because they reflect the artistry and image of the creator.
Loving Our Neighbor
The Christian call to love our neighbor is about recognizing not what humans have the potential to become but what they already are by divine creation. Yes, humans are fallen by sin and yes the divine image has been defaced, but the likeness of God in each man and women has not been destroyed.
Why has God called his people to love the poor? To serve the needy? To care for the orphan and widow and vulnerable? To love one another? (Gal 2:10, Heb. 13:16, James 1:27, John 13:34) Partly because when we care for those made in His image we are caring for him. (Matt. 25:40) At the heart of the gospel message is a love of God and love of people. When people are oppressed, abused, neglected and mistreated there is nothing more humanizing than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I love this poem shared by John Stott in one of his books:
I was hungry, and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned, and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
I was naked, and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick, and you knelt and thanked God for your health
I was homeless, and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely, and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy and so close to God
But I am still very hungry – and lonely – and cold.
Men and women have been made in the image of God. There is nothing more precious and valuable to the heart of God then what he has created and sustains. Once Christians see the inalienable value in human beings they will see it as a marvelous blessing to serve and love in any way that makes human life more human.
Each stick figure in all its colors and complexities represents the incredible compassion of a creative, artistic and loving God.* Stott, John. (1985) Being a Responsible Christian in a Non-Christian Society, Old Tappen, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell.