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Looking in the Mirror (Image of God, part 1)

It has been a while. I only wrote three posts, but I hoped to write one post a week, but then a year passed and I hadn’t written anything. I have thought a lot and read a lot and my life has been changed more than I could have ever imagined, but I hadn’t organized any thoughts onto this website. I would like to think that these posts are helping the very few that read them, but I accept the fact that I am writing to an empty void for the most part. But right now, that is what I need.

I just spent the better part of an hour in front of a mirror. I have thought through complex issues before, but being mostly naked in front of a mirror at 1am wondering if I am a monkey is a first. With the many changes in my life, I realize that my whole life is hinging on this moment and that I need to figure out my faith. I am looking towards the mission field with my soon to be wife. I know the importance of being equally yoked and I would like to be as strong in my faith as her. After studying and praying, I am about to preach my first sermon and start my graduate degree to be a missionary. I care deeply about other people and everyone I care about is deeply invested in my journey and my faith. I cannot think of what it would do to them if I apostatized. Would I put them through the pain I have felt?

I firmly hold the belief that faith without questioning is just blind. That is not the faith that I want. I also believe that I am too small to understand God. This leaves me to wonder what kind of answers I will get for all of these questions and at what point I should take that leap of faith. Would I be betraying my ideals if I jump in blindly? Would I betray my ideals if I didn’t? I’ll be honest, I have been scared.

Looking in the mirror, though, I did see a few things. I saw my flaws. I saw my sin. I was humbled. I saw that I do look quite a bit like an ape, as evolutionary biologists would point out readily. I wondered if I was really looking at the image of God. I saw the weight I gained over the past years and I saw my shrunken and slumped physique that used to stand tall and strong. I really am not the man I used to be. Then again, I am more, since I have grown from experience. Nevertheless, there was no evidence in my mind that I was looking at the image of a perfect God.

Then I looked harder. I saw concern. I saw emotion. I saw the faces of all of the people that I love. I saw complexity in simplicity and I saw a deeply troubled spirit. I have trouble seeing God in myself, but I know that I see him in everyone else. God looks on us and loves us, as he did with the young ruler who didn’t quite get it (Mark 10). He looks at the atheist and loves them, and He loves me. In a moment where I couldn’t see any worth in myself, Jesus’ love felt so profound and undeserved. It feels so tangible yet so distant that I long for it. It is like eating a few nuts after fasting. I get a taste for what my heart wants so much and I want to seek that with my whole being.

Now comes the question. Is that the only answer I will get? Is God teasing me to make me seek him harder? Well, seeing the way that Jesus looks with love on that young ruler, I am willing to take that leap of faith if it means following his example. There is something that separates us from animals: we have empathy and passion. I will live a life of empathy and love after Jesus. I do not feel that I am forsaking any ideals by living that way. Truth, I realize, is not as important as love.

“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:13‬ ‭NRSV-CI‬

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