Imago Dei

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"Imago Dei is taken from the Latin meaning the "Image of God". This concept and theological doctrine states that human beings are created in God'’s image and therefore have inherent value independent of their utility or function. The moral implications of the doctrine of Imago Dei are apparent in the fact that if humans are to love God, then humans must love other humans, as each is an expression of God. The ability and desire to love one's self and others, and therefore, God, can become neglected and even opposed. Striving to bring about the Imago Dei in one's life can be seen as the quest for wholeness, or one's "essential" self, as pointed to in Christ'’s life and teachings."

I was listening to a podcast recently where several moderators and a large crowd were discussing the theological implications of the movie "“Crash"”. The movie deals with the subjects of racism, hatred, power, greed, loss, and love. It is a moving work of art which is very difficult to watch at times. This is one of those movies that you end up talking about for a long time after you see it. I had heard several discussions about this movie but when I heard about this podcast and that they were talking about what we can learn of God'’s character, and our nature through this film I had to have a listen.

The discussion centered around this phrase; "Imago Dei". The thought was that all people are made in the image of God, all bearing His likeness, and none more or less valuable in His sight. The moderators talked about the fact that people who are racist see themselves as better than those who are different. They said that the people who were power hungry and greedy saw themselves are better, smarter, and more important than those around them.

I sat back listening to this discussion and nodding my head. "Oh yeah, absolutely! I agree. Those darn racists are horrible. I can't believe how they think they are better than everyone else. I am SO glad I'’m not like that!"”

Over the next several days the term Imago Dei kept turning about in my head. I became convicted that there were areas in my life were I had thought of myself as better than someone else. Subtle thoughts crept in. Thoughts that I was more valuable because I was better looking, or in better shape, or more talented, or smarter, or because I had more money than someone else.

I was feeling pretty self righteous when I was watching that movie. Thinking to myself, "“Thank God I'’m not a sinner like that."” And yet the root of that sin was showing up in my everyday life. I've thought a lot about the "“Imago Dei" and what that means to treat others as they deserve to be treated because they are made in the image of God. It's made me think a lot more, and talk a lot less. I'm trying to love others the way that God loves me. It'’s hard. It'’s a big deal to try to change my thought processes to be less self centered. It's work. It takes a conscience effort to evaluate each of my thoughts. I need to take my thoughts captive. I need to make sure I am thinking the right thoughts and doing the right things for the right reasons.

I'’m trying to see others the way that God sees them.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jimmy. Thanks for sharing how God is working on you. I know a lot of people that look to you for your (forgive the buzz word) relevant life example. Thinking of and treating others as lower than yourself is dangerously contagious too. As soon as one of my friends makes fun of someone else or implies that some other person is not as valuable than themselves, it somehow makes me feel like I have permission to do the same. It's something I have to be very careful of. Thank you so much for letting God shape you. I appreciate your heart.

TGL said...

First of all, welcome back. I have missed your posts over the last month. I just watched Crash the other day, and you are right. It is a hard movie to watch. I saw parts of myself in many of the characters. It is a constant battle in my life as well, to love as God loves and still hold to moral convictions. One instance for me is to show love, God's love, to a lesbian friend, and still hold to the truth of the sin present in her life. Sometimes I feel so inadequate to sort these things out in my own mind.

Again, welcome back Jimmie.

urbanmonk said...

Gday from Australia... Just surfing around, and came across your post... For me, its a long battle that never goes away.. Sounds pretty exhausting, the mental hoops you put yourself through trying to think "right thoughts" and evaluate each thought.. I dont think we ever get over the line with this one. only by degrees as age or grace, or both take the edges off, and as I acknowledge more and more the hypocrite in me, as I see through all the bullshit served up by culture, do I find the grace to value the least of the least... unfortunately, its a rare occurence, but always humbling.. Cheers