Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
— Romans 12: 9–18
Little in this last year has stirred my passions like the tenor of the discourse in our country. Some of the specific issues, like race relations, have brought me to tears countless times. But for me, one of the worst parts of all of the conflict is that people who have publicly stated that they are Christians, followers of Jesus, are on the front lines of the attack on both sides. So, when Randy Wade preached last Sunday at c|Life’s Sunnyvale campus about the importance of our fully comprehending that we have all been created in the image of God, and the need for us to treat each other as though that is true, my eyes filled up again.
It is time for all of us who follow Jesus to lead the way to peace. In scripture, we see — and Jesus demonstrated by his life — that all have been created in the image of God and are loved by God, loved enough to be died for. We need to take that in fully for ourselves and humbly receive the confidence and dignity that truth affords a believer. Then we must take that knowledge to the streets. Regardless of whether others act like children of God, and regardless of differences in our beliefs, we must treat all people, in all interactions we have — electronic, in person and even as we just make references to others — as what they are, the precious creation of our God, bearing his image, deserving to be treated with dignity and respect, just like us.
Even as I write this, I am aware that there is some hypocrisy involved on my part. I do not do this as I should. But my imperfection on this, your imperfection, is not a reason to avoid trying. As believers in and followers of Jesus, we have been given not just the tools, but the calling to live at peace. If we resolve to become leaders in demonstrating respect and granting dignity to all, there are enough of us to make a difference.