Looking in the Face of God

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” - Genesis 1:27

Dear Friends, There is an innate desire in each and every one of us to protect. For some, like former All-American Offensive Tackle Michael Oher (as I referenced in Sunday’s sermon), it’s really high. But sometimes that innate desire gets sideways, and we try to protect the wrong things or the right things, with the wrong means. Jesus was more concerned about protecting the person than the law, when he healed a crippled man on the Sabbath Saturday of rest. And once again, Jesus was more concerned about protecting the person (the guard Malchus), than he was about protecting his own life, as he was being arrested. And while he’d prayed for a level of protection, to turn from the path of crucifixion he was walking down, he wasn’t willing to take up violence to achieve that protection either. No, it seems quite clear that Jesus was concerned about protecting the dignity of people, over and against protecting just about anything else. In so doing, he was binding together those two greatest commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. You see, loving your neighbor, protecting their dignity - not gossiping about them, not slandering them, not wishing evil on them, even if the flag flying on the pole outside their home is from a different team than yours - is also loving God! Because each of them, are image-bearers of God. If you’re looking for a way to do this this week, a way to love your neighbor this week, start with something very simple. Look at them, pause for a moment, and think “I’m looking at the face of God.” Because you are. 100%. Remember, when Jesus told the parable of the sheep and goats, he explained that everything done, even to the least, left-behind, low-life losers was actually done to him. They may not have recognized him, but he was there, he was them. So, next time you see your neighbor - next time you see someone walking down the street or someone on tv, a grocery store clerk, a gas station attendant, waitstaff at a restaurant or anyone - stop for a moment and realize, you are looking at the face of God… and all the love you have for God can be directed at them too. Welcoming you to Grow in Jesus, Pastor Don

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