Tag Archives: Seeing God in Others

Seeing God in Ourselves and Others

The way we see God is the way we see ourselves ; and the way we see ourselves is the way we see others.    

In the Book of Genesis we read:  “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  (Gen. 1:26-27)

We are all created in God’s image.   So how do we see God, and therefore our own self-image and the image of others?     This is a crucial question.    For example, if we see God as  a mighty King who lays down the rules and severely punishes those who disobey them by committing them to Hell for eternity—-then we see ourselves as sinners who are always falling short of the rules and worthy of punishment.     We will also see others as evil people like us who cannot be worthy of going to Heaven unless we do the prescribed repentance ; unlovable and not to be trusted.

The Biblical answer to the question—-How do we see God and therefore ourselves and those others around us?—is simple.    When I turn to the Gospels, I find that God gave us an answer to that question in Jesus.    IN JESUS GOD WAS GIVEN A FACE AND A HEART!!  It’s called “the incarnation”.   The God Jesus revealed was and is a God we could love and who loves us back—-because Jesus by his life and ministry and teachings has shown us that God is love!  GOD IS LOVE is the central attribute that stands behind all the descriptions of God in our Bible.    

Read the 13th chapter of I Corinthians:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.   And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.   If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body, so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing…. (I. Cor. 13:1-3     

Paul writes that if we are brilliant speakers, have vast knowledge , have faith capable of moving mountains, willingly  give our bodies as sacrifices AND DO NOT HAVE LOVE—all is worthless.

LOVE IS THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING.    LOVE DEFINES GOD.   Therefore I  must ask  these questions for you to ponder--Is your God a God of love?   Does love direct all that you are as a person?     Do you love those around you because you see in them the image of God—-Love?

Think about it!

Seeing God in our Mirror

Look at yourself in your mirror?    Do you see God there?   You are made in the image of God.   That’s God you see!!   But you say, “That’s not God, it is just meThe same old me with warts and all.   I have all these problems and faults and bad habits, and on top of it I’m having a bad hair day.  Just last night I went on a hateful tirade about politicians!    I swear at times!   I am critical and analytic  and unloving and scared and  weak willed and fat—-and how can you say that you see God in me?”

True—-all of the above are faults and problems most of us exhibit at one time or another and that’s just a few of the many—but there is one thing that we are forgetting!!  That is that God, with unconditional love for us as his children, has forgiven us and we can thus stand before our mirrors and see God in ourselves.   It’s not because we have done anything to merit this—-it is due to God’s grace and love for us.

Now look at a homeless person.   That person is also God’s child.   He is made in the image of God.   The mirror he looks in reflects God also!   Despite  the dirty clothes, the unwashed smell, the unshaven face and the unkempt hair.   As he wearily makes his way along the street with a backpack and a black plastic bag holding all of his worldly possession—- can you see God in this person?   He is the recipient of the same unconditional love  and forgiveness of God just as much as you are.    We are all in the same position—-loved and forgiven by God through no efforts or merit of our own.

So—who are  we to  judge this homeless person or to judge each other?   As Jesus said:   “Judge not, that you be not judged, for the same judgment that you give will be meted out to you.”  What wonderful things might happen in all of our lives if we could just manage to see God in all of the people around us—-and in ourselves!    Amen.