Michael Brown was made in God’s very image. (and so was his killer.)

25 Nov

Years ago I heard Lisa Sharon Harper preach that all humans, of every ethnicity, gender, nationality, age, ability– are made in God’s image and therefore IMAGE BEARERS OF GOD.

When we trample on another person, when we oppress them, when we seek to denigrate or humiliate or condemn them, to silence them, to hurt them, to kill them, to insult their memory– we are doing those things to someone who bears God’s fingerprints and reflects his very face. We are trampling on the image of God Himself. FATHER, forgive us. We don’t know what we are doing.

I try to remember this in daily life but like everyone else, I fall short. So often I am the oppressor, directly or by my complacency.

Tonight as so many mourn and rage and so many others condemn and refuse to listen to those in mourning– I pray we can all remember it in some way. That person over there? They reflect the God of the universe. They were created in His image. It’s true of Michael Brown; Ezell Ford; Eric Garner; John Crawford III; Dante Parker; Tamir Rice. It’s true of Yvette Smith; Eleanor Bumpurs; Aiyana Stanley-Jones; Tarika Wilson and the many other black women victims of police violence we don’t typically hear about. And the crazy, horrible, wonderful, painful truth of the gospel is that it is also true of Darren Wilson. It’s true of the white supremacists who spewed hate speech on Wilson’s fundraiser page. It’s true of each member of the Grand Jury. It’s true of those who set fires tonight, those who wept in silence, those who fired tear gas, those who screamed insults.

It’s true of you.
It’s true of me.

How different would the world look if each of us truly sought to see the image of God in all people? How would it change the way we think, speak, act, vote? How different would our churches look? Our neighborhoods? Our workplaces? Our friend groups? Our families?

Tonight I mourn for Michael Brown and for his family. I mourn alongside those who mourn. And I mourn for the hardness of my own heart and for all those who trample the image of God without even realizing what they are doing.

Oh Lord, I pray that they matter to each of us as well. Open our eyes; break and remake our hearts. May we bear your image more and more each day and may we love your image in others– even at great cost.


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