God in our image

April 22, 2007 at 4:33 pm Leave a comment

A daily devotional I read recently related a story about Oliver North. I’m not sure of the accuracy of the tale, but apparently North was baffled by false accusations about himself circulating in the press. He confided to a friend that he couldn’t understand why people would make up erroneous charges about him.

As the story goes:

The friend replied, “They are printing this stuff because they believe it’s true.”

Oliver North was dumbfounded, but the friend went on to explain. “They figure if you had access to your level of freedom and power, of course you would act corruptly because they would act corruptly.”

Whether true or not, the story makes a cogent point: We see other people in our own image, reading into their characters what we know to be true of ourselves. It can happen even in the simplest ways, as when I give someone else a gift that would be meaningful to me if I received it, not realizing that the person to whom I am giving speaks a completely different love language and doesn’t see the same meaning in my gift.

It strikes me that the same thing happens in human relationships with God: We assume about God what we know of ourselves.

We might distrust God’s love, for example, because we know the fickleness of our own human love. We might be suspicious of God’s fidelity or His integrity because we know our own infidelity and our own lies. We might assume God would judge as we judge, simply because that’s how we would do it. Our perceptions of God cannot help but be colored by what we know of our own natures and of human nature generally.

By implication, part of the process of coming to know God and to trust Him must involve us becoming like Him—taking His character as our own and growing into conformity with His nature. It is as we become like God—as His thoughts and desires become our own, as we become conformed to His will and begin to understand His character from the inside—that we truly know Him and can truly trust Him.


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profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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