Read Genesis 1:26-28; Colossians 1:15, 3:5-11
Human beings are amazing creatures, aren’t they? Scientists have identified some unique traits that humans alone have. We alone have a kind of “higher” consciousness that no other species on Earth seems to have – the very fact that you can read and ponder on this devotional, and you can wonder at the meaning of life during this very time is unique to humans. We alone seem to be capable of producing art and culture, and to assign symbolic value to it. Human beings are unique.
And during this time when we are all battling Covid-19, we certainly do see the best of humanity, don’t we? Consider, for instance, the following:
- Our doctors, nurses and other frontliners working long and exhausting hours everyday, to devote themselves selflessly to the patients under their care.
- Citizens collaborating together, coming up with novel ways to stitch together PPEs and innovate contactless Covid-19 booths to keep frontliners safe.
- People generously buying groceries for the elderly, saying encouraging words to lonely people, turning the spotlight to ensure refugees and the abused are not forgotten, offering hospitality to complete strangers with nowhere to stay.
- Creatives using virtual platforms to make music and bring a shaft of joy to the current gloomy atmosphere.
However, at the same time, we also have to consider that the worst of humanity is also on display:
- Panic buying, and fighting over empty shelves to see who can get that last roll of toilet paper.
- Lies and abusive language directed at doctors and other frontliners.
- Scammers taking advantage of this time to swindle the gullible.
- The elderly abandoned in nursing homes and left for dead.
What accounts for the best and worst of humanity? How do we make sense of this paradox?
The Scriptures tell us. When we turn to God’s Word, we are told that one of the most significant things about human beings is that we are made in the image of God. In other words, we are royalty. We are to rule, on behalf of God, over the created realm, as his representatives. What that means is that we treat every single person as deserving of dignity. We reflect God as we show love, as we showcase our creative skills, as we sacrifice for the sake of others.
However, the Bible also tells us that we now have a perverted image. We are ruined. That happened when we decided not trust God and his Word, but believed the lies of the serpent instead. And so we began to resemble the serpent more. Like him, we deceive others. Like him, we love to dispute with others. Like him, we delight only in our own glory. Left to ourselves, we still dimly carry the image of God, but it is like a shattered mirror.
Praise God, however, that there is One who is the perfect image of God. Jesus came. He was indeed royalty – he was the Messiah, the Chosen King. But he came to embrace ruin. He himself was ruined on the cross for the sake of our restoration. And he restores us by recreating us in the image of our Creator.
So now, as restored images, we are free to rid ourselves of lies and malice. We are free to practise compassion and humility. We are free once again to reflect the love of our Creator. As Christians, let’s celebrate that truth. Let us, even amidst a pandemic, bear a striking resemblance to the Saviour, who was the best human being ever, and who redeemed us, so that God may be glorified.
- Pray that we will take off the old self with its practices, and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
- Pray for governments across the world to exercise calm and wise leadership, and to make the best decisions they can as they face a changed world.