I was reading a book on marriage (Intimate Allies by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman) this morning. The following passage really struck my heart.
“One's spouse is a mystery-- a terrain that each year will reveal more depth and beauty than could have been imagined when we walked out of the church as husband and wife. We should approach each other with a sense of eager anticipation, as if we are exploring an uncharted island paradise. The fruit is delicious and ample, the terrain beautiful and overwhelming. The foliage is dense and demanding but opens to waterfalls, vistas, and Edenic beauty. An entire lifetime will not provide ample time to explore the depths of uniqueness found in this one embodiment of God's image.”
The authors' point in this chapter is that our job as spouses is to find that image of God in each other, draw it out and build it up. Sometimes, our past experiences can make us jaded. We can become bitter and see only the negative in our spouses. Sometimes, they're so jaded that we really have to search to find that image. And other times, they can't even see it and it's our job to draw it out.
I've shared with my church many times that philosophy and declared it to be the core mission of our relationships. I really see my calling in my personal ministry as finding that image of God in people and drawing it out. Seeing the value that other people overlook. Seeing it in people who don't see it in themselves. That's why I'm drawn to broken people.
As I reflected on this, the Lord brought to my mind a scene from the movie “Hook.” Robin Williams plays a grown up Peter Pan, who's forgotten who he is. Captain Hook has kidnapped his children to draw him back to Neverland. Tinkerbell is the only one who sees him for who he is. The lost boys don't believe. But then there's this scene. A little boy approaches the dejected Peter, takes the glasses off his face, pushes and pulls at his face, all the while intensely studying him. After a few seconds of this, the boy's face lights up and he says “There you are, Peter!”
That's our job. That's what it looks like to be the Church!
Sometimes people are so beaten down that they forget that they were made in God's image, to display His glory. Sometimes they've never even heard that truth. Sometimes they so hate God that they mutilate that image themselves. Sometimes the world has so beaten them down that we struggle to see it in them.
But everybody carries God's image. No matter how hard they've tried to bury or reject it. No matter how ugly they seem. No matter how broken they are. Nothing they've done and nothing that's been done to them has ever damaged that.
If we can remember that when we interact with difficult people, we have opportunities for great impact.
Like the little boy in this movie scene, we can give the little nudge. We can provide one little spark of faith and hope.
And if we are faithful to seek His image in everyone we come in contact with, we WILL change the world.