In His Image
Dayton, Ohio – 9 dead, 14 wounded
El Paso, Texas – 22 dead, 24 wounded
Chicago Illinois - 1 dead, 8 wounded
Three mass shootings in the span of only a couple of days. One appears to be driven by racial hate, another by gang violence and one has an unknown motivation.
Human nature is to respond immediately with blame.
It is the President’s fault. His racism has incited racist violence.
It is the Republicans fault. They have done nothing to enact stricter gun laws and have stood in the way of those who have.
It is the Democrats fault. They didn’t do anything when they had the opportunity and now their proposals are extreme.
It is the video games, parents, school bullies, mental health, the NRA and on and on and on we go. And again and again and again there are deaths, injuries, lives changed forever.
Blame is what Adam did in the garden. We read about it in Genesis 3, after Eve and then Adam disobeyed God.“8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Do you see it?
Adam, did you do what I said not to do? It was the woman’s fault – she gave me the fruit. And it was your fault, God, you gave me the woman!
Eve, what have you done? It was the serpent. He deceived me.
Here’s the thing – there is a degree of truth to their blame. God did give Eve. Eve did give the fruit to Adam. The serpent did deceive Eve. But there is more truth than that. The roots are much deeper. Eve acted, as Adam watched, from disbelief. She didn’t believe that God was good and gracious. She didn’t believe that He was providing all that she was due. Apparently, Adam agreed. Disbelief led to sin and sin led to death. What I am getting at is this. All of our blame for gun violence and mass shootings has a degree of truth. But until we get to the deeper root issues, we will never stop the violence.
Genesis 1 tells us of the creation of all things, including humanity. We read, “26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Humanity was created in the image of God. Humanity still bears the image of God, though it is marred by sin and imperfect. What that means is that all human life has value. All human life is meant to reflect Him, and does. All human life. All – Red and Yellow, Black and White, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Socialist… All.
This is the truth that we fail to believe (or at least one of them). If we believed this truth, then guns would not be an issue, neither would bombs, and knives and cars and airplanes. If we saw ALL people as image bearers of God to be respected and honored and heard there would be no mass shootings. If we saw His image in all people we would be much kinder, much more helpful. We would be more patient, more giving. If we saw one another as image bearers we may blame less, listen more and work together for real solutions – heart solutions.
This Sunday we start a new series on Sunday mornings – In His Image. How timely.
Consider this an invitation to explore what it means to be created in His image. The implications are incredible! Join us.