Image-Reflecting: Be Intentional
By Ron VandenBurg
So much of Christian living can be in the moment. You can plan and predict how your day is going to go, but then all the other people -your family- have to come into the room, and that's when things become unpredictable. When you think about other people, what makes you value them? For me, it has been the belief that each person is created in the image of God. I'm an image bearer, and so is everyone else around me.
Okay, so let's talk about children. If my belief is real for me, then I ought to show respect, trust, care, and hope intentionally to my children. My parenting needs to be shaped by how my children are in that day. When a story is told, I need to be present and I need to listen. Parker Palmer, a noted educator, says, "It is the simple fact that the more one knows about another person's story, the less possible it is to dismiss or disrespect that person."
More thoughts then: When there's frustration over homework, I need to go back and start again. When a child wants a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, I need to recognize that perseverance and support that child. Why? Because she's an image bearer. My child deserves the same respect as a person that I do, that anyone does.
One educator that I respected once told me that when I am in the presence of another person, I am on holy ground. There's an image bearer right in front of me, so what am I going to do and how am I going to treat that other person?
Create affirming artwork. Surprise your coach, your pastor, your teacher, your parent, your sibling with a piece of artwork that tells them about something special that you see in them. The artwork could be a bookmark or a great picture that they can hang on their refrigerator.
Have your small children draw special pictures. Use these as wrapping paper, tucking inside them a piece of wrapped candy or silk flower, along with a note like “thanks for being so nice” or “you made my day.” Then keep these in your carry-all or purse and when you’re out together, share them with a polite cashier, a kind librarian, or wonderful friend. It shows children that everyone should be valued and that kindness is everywhere.
“Pay it forward”. If someone does something nice to you, find another person and show some kindness to them. Be intentional with your blessing.
Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.