Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”
I’m getting a little vexed over what’s making the headlines these days. I’m tired of watching divisive politicians throwing verbal barbs at each other. I’m getting tired of selfish ambition and vulnerable others being undermined through prejudice. I’m just really tired of people mistreating and hating each other.
The couple of passages mentioned above from Genesis are so powerful and thought provoking. Mankind was the last to be created in creation week. God saved the best till last; mankind was the pinnacle of God’s creation, because we were not only created in His image, but we were created for him. Even though today, we speak different languages, we have different defining features, we have different coloured skin and conform to different cultural norms, we are human. We are created in the image of God! We are but one race, placed here on earth to be good stewards of what God has given us, and throughout the ages I can’t help but feel we have failed to view each other as human beings, created in the likeness of our Almighty Father. Instead we have found ourselves as enemies in competition instead of working together for the betterment of mankind. We have seen fit to subjugate and pursue war with those we covet, with those who threaten us or we see as weak and inferior.
A troubled century
Histories of the world will tell a tale of slavery, war and bloodshed spanning thousands of years, none more horrific than our recent history. The 20th century has seen more bloodshed than any other era with reports of between 120 and 160 million people slaughtered in conflicts around the world, and some people also think that human trafficking and slavery is an atrocity of the distant past! According to Freedom United there are at least 46 million people who are considered to be modern day slaves today. What a tragedy, that we humans can look down on one another, take each other’s lives in the name of progress and force people against their will to work and slave away in the name of profit. What has happened to our humanity?
The black lives protests have brought many a testimony of human beings, who were wrongfully accused of crimes, wrongly identified as culprits and deviants, wrongfully detained, wrongfully mistreated. The prejudice today in modern society is rife. I read a heart-breaking account of a gentleman who I knew from church many years ago about the daily struggles he faced growing up because of his dark skin. His testimony started from when he was a young primary school student all the way to now and the fears he has for his children as a father, that they will face the same discrimination as he did. He is an Australian! He is a human! He is created in the image of God! What a tragedy that there were those who made him feel less than what he truly is.
Reconciliation or reckoning
I often challenge my students at school about how to treat one another, and I would often say to them, how would they feel if they were bullied relentlessly, gossiped about, chosen last every time. Most kids would respond, with a resounding “I would feel awful”, my reply to them is then, why do you do it to others?
I wonder how people would change if the shoe was on the other foot for just a moment? Would the hell they go through for a moment possibly change their wicked ways? The one thing I am certain of is that each and every single one of us will give an account for how we lived this life when we face God one day. Were you just? Were you kind? Did you show love? Or did you go out of your way to make other humans beings feel any less than what they were created to be?
I look at America and I see how divided it is. I have heard some Americans say there is no hope for their country it is only going to get worse, and honestly, I think I agree with them. This is the price of humans hating other humans, this is the price for not loving thy neighbour. One of the greatest things I have witnessed as an Australian was when, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in 2008 delivered an apology to Australian Indigenous people. Mr Rudd may not have been the cause of the invasion, or the reason Indigenous Australians were slaughtered, or Indigenous children taken from their families. But what is important is that he has acknowledged these atrocities and apologised for the misdeeds of those who are long dead and has sought to work side by side with Indigenous Australians for a brighter future together. Hopefully initiating the healing process for the many wounds that have been inflicted and washing away the scourge of prejudice in our society.
Like all sin, we need to confess and seek forgiveness from those whom we have hurt. Some of that hurt runs very deep and it will take a lot of time to heal those wounds. But the longer we keep playing divisive politics with each other, the longer we keep hating each other, there is only so much defiling of the Image of God that we can do. Until one day, our time is up and there will be a reckoning for how we have treated each other.
Jarred is an HPE and Mathematics teacher on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he is married to Haley and has three beautiful children Chelsea, Nathan and Ryan.