“In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.” – Romans 12:5
- If we want to expand God’s Kingdom our goal is realized not so much via the imposition of religious code or leveraging acquiescence to our definition of faith, as it is in the expanding and deepening of authentic community.
- Being created in the image of God is our common inheritance. Loving one another is the only option we have.
Listening With My Heart:
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how human beings could possibly be “Made in the image of God.” I mean, look at us! The “God’s image” idea is fundamental to our identity as people of faith, but then we look around at what’s happening in the world, we witness how people act, how miserably we treat one another, and humanity looks anything but God-like.
However, even though the evidence is so often disheartening, I still tend to lean toward the optimistic, and I believe I’m optimistic because my heart is open and my theology is sound. I like people, I enjoy learning their stories, I sympathize with their struggles, and it’s not hard for me to understand how people can own different points of view. I live out of my own version of the “Will Rogers frame of mind”, and I often say I’d enjoy a long coffee or lunch with just about anyone, no matter who they are, so long as I remember to listen to their heart.
Listening to someone’s heart is an interesting idea; open-spirited, beyond the limitations of posturing, without pushing an agenda, absent ulterior motive, gently probing – how can I begin to learn who you are, what moves you, and what you care about?
You see that’s where we begin to realize the image of God, that’s where we begin to find real communion, that’s where we begin to understand that we are brothers and sisters. Not brothers and sisters at surface level agreements, but brothers and sisters where I begin to listen, where I begin to know you, and to value you, and in so doing catch a glimpse of the beating heart of God.
God’s Entire Point:
I believe we are all created in the image of God – without exception – carrying God’s likeness inasmuch as we hold an echo of God’s fundamental intention at the core of our being. And God’s point in creating was – is – for human beings to live in community, communion both with one another and with God.
If we want to expand God’s Kingdom, then, our goal is realized not so much via the imposition of religious code or leveraging acquiescence to our definition of faith, as it is in the expanding and deepening of authentic community.
If I believe I am right and you are wrong, how has that judgment advanced God’s purpose? If I listen to your heart, however, until I hear the heartbeat of God echo in your soul, then we both begin to understand that because of God’s great love we are brothers and sisters.
The Simplicity of Communion:
Think for a moment about eternal truth, about the fact that the Great I Am lives beyond the confines of time and space, think about the limitations of human thought, expression, and vocabulary, and think about the deep intricacies of even our own finite terrestrial home. Let all that sink in. Now tell me that your specific religion, your limited knowledge, or your narrow interpretation of God (or mine), can exclude any of God’s children from Christ’s simple invitation, this call to come home?
Jesus offers a simple invitation that is more complete (in honoring God’s purposes) than any religious code we can impose or any judgment we can offer.
Being created in the image of God is our common inheritance. Loving one another is the only option we have. But we can’t do that if we are not, first, prepared to listen to one another’s hearts, and open our own.
God created humanity in God’s own image,
in the divine image God created them,
male and female God created them. – Genesis 1:27
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.