“GOD CREATED HUMANITY IN GOD’S OWN IMAGE, IN THE DIVINE IMAGE GOD CREATED THEM, MALE AND FEMALE GOD CREATED THEM.“
2 PETER 3:9
“THE LORD ISN’T SLOW TO KEEP HIS PROMISE, AS SOME THINK OF SLOWNESS, BUT HE IS PATIENT TOWARD YOU, NOT WANTING ANYONE TO PERISH BUT ALL TO CHANGE THEIR HEARTS AND LIVES.”
“BE TOLERANT WITH EACH OTHER AND, IF SOMEONE HAS A COMPLAINT AGAINST ANYONE, FORGIVE EACH OTHER. AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU, SO ALSO FORGIVE EACH OTHER”
It can be difficult to see those who are different from us the way God sees them, as people made in His image. We do not naturally want to be tolerant, and we can be much less patient with individuals who are not like us, people that we don’t really understand. Therefore, when we are recipients of patience and tolerance and being equal treatment, we should be reminded that we are all made in God’s image, both male and female from all parts of the globe. God made all of humanity in His own image, each and every specific human, and when we really grasp the magnitude of that, it changes how we treat others — whether they are our own spouses, or kids, or especially those outside of our own family, the people that we may easily pass by each day.
Jesus taught us that we should go out of our way to show love to those who are unlike us when He walked on purpose through Samaria, a place that was avoided by pious religious people of His day. John 4 describes how He met a woman at the well there, and although she was probably shunned by both women and men because she had been abandoned by many previous husbands, Jesus talked to her and showed genuine care for her. In Jesus’ day, women were considered property, and their worth was often tied to their ability to bear children. This woman was not deemed as worthy by her community, and yet Jesus elevated and called out her worth by speaking to her even though she was very different from Him. Culturally, speaking to her would have brought shame on Him because it would be considered beneath Him to speak to a woman, especially a woman as unloved as she was. Jesus modeled so well how to care much less about shame and much more about showing love to those unloved. Praying to see others the way God sees them is a potentially risky prayer to pray because once we begin to see others in this loving way, we may find ourselves stepping into the spaces of others’ shame in order to communicate how much God loves them. Uncomfortable? Maybe. Worth it? Always.
“Jesus, teach me to love as You showed love to the Samaritan woman, and give me the courage that you had that day to not care what others thought of You. Help me to care more about pleasing You and loving others than I do about my own status or reputation. I need You, Holy Spirit, to fill me so full that I operate out of your promptings to show love to those who are different from me, and especially the marginalized and outcast around me. Help me to love as You love.”
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