Our nation has been in turmoil of late. We’re under attack, not merely from an invisible virus, but more recently from an all too visible dividing wall of hatred. We’ve seen the images on social media, we’ve seen them on the news, and many of us have seen them in person. But what are the images? And who are the individuals behind them? Today, let’s turn our focus to Psalm 8 for guidance on how to look upon one another.
Wednesday, June 3rd
Scripture Passage for Reflection - Psalm 8
Reflecting on the Text:
Majestic. The word speaks of impressive beauty or dignity…nobility of character. In Psalm 8, the psalmist sings of our God’s majestic name. So what do you think makes a name majestic? The psalmist is speaking of more than our impression of the Lord God. He is speaking of reality. The majesty of the Lord’s name is not dependent upon our reception of Him. His name is simply majestic because He is majestic.
The majesty of the Lord is seen in all creation and is over all creation. We grasp this statement when we imagine snow-capped mountain peaks, vast ocean views, and star-filled night skies. So does the psalmist. And with the beauty of creation in view, reflecting the beauty of the Creator, the psalmist wonders aloud why the Creator would pay any attention to man. Yet in his question, he offers the answer.
Mankind is crowned with glory and honor. Mankind was created only a little lower than the heavenly beings, most likely referring to the angels. And mankind has been given dominion over the creation. In all of this, the psalmist is referring to Genesis 1 and the creation of male and female, who were created in the image of God. In other words, men and women of all races reflect the majesty of God by uniquely bearing His image.
The psalmist then closes this hymn of praise by once again singing of the majestic name of the Lord. So is Psalm 8 singing of the majesty of the Lord or the dignity of mankind? Both. But understand the dignity of mankind is a derivative of the majesty of the Lord. Mankind…all mankind…bears the image of God and therefore points back to His majesty.
This was how the psalmist viewed mankind. So how do we view our fellow man? What is the lens through which we interpret his dignity? Is it through the lens of race? Is it through the lens of socioeconomic status? Is it through the lens of political affiliation? With our nation in turmoil, we must ask these questions of ourselves and as best we are able, respond with honest answers.
But this honesty is meant to lead us somewhere. More than simply acknowledging the false lenses through which we view our fellow man, let us replace them with a Biblical lens. Let us see our fellow man as fellow image-bearers of God.
Now, with a proper lens, let us remember a couple of additional points from Scripture. First, viewing others as fellow image-bearers doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize differences. God in His wonderful creativity has given mankind (and all of creation) a necessary diversity. This diversity is necessary for us to more fully bear God’s image as a collective body. No one person, no one race, no one socioeconomic status, and no one political affiliation fully bears the image of God alone. To do so, we need each other in our differences. But this understanding also tells us that different does not mean lesser. It simply means different.
Second, though all mankind bears the image of God and is thus worthy of dignity and honor, we have marred the image of God by our sin. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and thus all have marred the image of God. But our God is mindful of mankind. He does care for mankind, and He has shown this care by sending Jesus to restore the image which we have marred.
Together then as the people of God, let us pray He will continue to restore in us the image we have marred. And along the way, let us pray that He would also repair our marred lenses so that we might rightly look upon our fellow man. Let us pray for a renewed site to see the image of God in all.
Questions for personal reflection:
What lens have you been using to look upon your fellow man?
How has that lens tempted you to think of others as lesser?
What would it look like for you to not merely recognize those false lenses, but to also cast them out?