There’s a concept that I ran into a while ago. It’s called the “Imago Dei”. It’s Latin and translated means “image of God”. The idea is that all humanity is created in the image of God. This comes from Genesis 1:27 which says “God created man in his own image…male and female he created them.”
The thing is that when we start to view people, all people, as bearing the image of God, we start to see beauty in all people, whether they go to a church or not. At least this is what I have experienced. And when I stop to consider that all people experience shame AND all people are made in the image of God, I see more and more the things we have in common rather than the things that separate us.
It is no longer “us” vs. “them” or Christian vs. non-Christian. I can see beauty in everyone and I look for God’s likeness in everyone. This has reduced my fear – I used to be terrified to share my faith with those not going to church because they felt like “the other” and I feared that. But not anymore.
My love for all people has grown. It’s easy to love people when you realize we are all in this together and no one is better than anyone else. We are all on equal ground. We all walk through this life, broken and hurting and in need of love and empathy and connection. These are the things which unite us. This is our common humanity. There is amazing beauty in that.
Because I am better able to love people and not fear them, I am more compelled to share my experience of love and grace with them. I want them to know love and be free, too.
I think we would do better to start with how we are the same when relating to non-church people than how we are different. This makes sense to me when I understand that we are all longing for connection and belonging, to be accepted and loved. Why not begin from that place of our common humanity, of the Imago Dei?
I’ll talk about how this relates to the “Good News” (i.e., the Gospel) tomorrow.