The antidote to bigotry and bullying
Imago Dei is the Latin sentiment for the “Image of God.” The idea that mankind has been made in the image and likeness of God is rooted in Old and New Testament teachings. This position proclaims that humankind possesses certain qualities, characteristics, or endowments that mirror His nature and character. Considered the “crown of creation”, people are fundamentally different than all other creation, clearly existing for a higher purpose. Many would insist that humans are most like God when it comes to their unique relational qualities, meaning it is man’s ability to engage in complex interpersonal relationships that best reflects the divine.
Yet, our human nature tends to assign negative meaning to circumstances and/or things we do not understand. Unfamiliar cultures, different customs, or unexplained actions are filtered through this bias where our self-centered point of view is presumed correct and superior, leading us to assume the worst of others.
Re-claiming the Imago Dei resets our default position to a more gracious, understanding posture. So “beautifully and wonderfully made” leaves no room for groundless contempt toward others. To the contrary, if Imago Dei was accurately perceived we would be awe-struck, tempted to worship. Therefore, being formed in the image of Christ we are empowered to live deeply in community and ultimately enabled to fulfill the two greatest commandments…love God with all your heart, soul and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.
How does community with others change our perspectives?
How would we treat people differently if we believed that they were made in the image of God?
In this room you are surrounded by nearly 18,000 hearts of all different colors coming together to form a beautiful enclosure, a “community.” We are all different and unique, yet we are all made in the image of God. Our differences give us a refreshed perspective of the Ultimate Creator. Just like an art piece can tell you about the artist, or the manuscript about the author, we are living, breathing examples of the true living God.