In last week’s Monday Musings’ post, I suggested that that will be the one word that best describes the year 2021…
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
We now enter a week that started yesterday with churches all across the country pausing to recognize “Sanctity of Life” Sunday.
Today, as I write, many people in our country are pausing to remember the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
And, just two days from now, our country will inaugurate a new president and vice president to lead us for the next four years.
Depending on things like your race, politics, religion, socio-economic status, and even family background, each of these days probably mean something different to you.
And, because of this, these days (and this week) may end up only highlighting the division that you already sense and feel in your heart toward those who think or look or act differently than you.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Because, regardless of all that divides us, we all have one thing in common.
We are all image-bearers.
All of us have been created in the image of God.
From the moment of conception, we are His image-bearers.
Whatever the color of our skin, we are His image-bearers.
Whatever our political or socio-economic status, we are His image-bearers.
Whatever our religious beliefs (or even lack of them), we are His image-bearers.
Whatever our family background and history, we are His image-bearers.
We could go on, but the point is this…
We are all born image-bearers of our Creator God.
But, we are also all born broken image-bearers in need of a Savior.
The good news is that God knows that and sent His Son into the world to save us…to redeem us in our brokenness and to give us life to the full. (John 3:16-17 & John 10:10)
The bad news is that the devil knows that too and is doing all that he can to steal and kill and destroy the lives of God’s image-bearers. (John 10:10)
Behind all that divides us in 2021 is a battle far greater than the one’s we wage over race, religion, politics, or anything else.
As Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, this battle is not “against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
We live in a culture right now that has convinced us that those who don’t agree with us are our enemies.
(The polarization and division we see/feel in our country is a product of that).
But this week, I am reminded again that the real enemy of all of us isn’t walking around in human skin.
The real enemy of all of us is the one who has convinced us that it is okay to steal and kill and destroy the life of the unborn image-bearer.
The real enemy of all of us is the one who has convinced us that it is okay to steal and kill and destroy the dignity of another image-bearer simply based on the color of their skin.
And, the real enemy of all of us is the one who has convinced us that it is okay to hate other image-bearers just because they think or act or look differently than we do.
The truth is, we are a divided, image-bearing people.
And, if there was ever a time (and a week) where we need to put into practice the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44, this is it.
May we be image-bearers who don’t just love the image-bearers that love us back.
And, may we also be image-bearers that are always pointing other image-bearers to Jesus.
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Jesus in Matthew 5:43-48)