What about our own personal style? Do you ever find yourself painting a room in your house, or working in your yard wondering, “Am I the only one who will like this?” You hope that, because you chose it and like it, others will like it as well. Yes, you’re doing it for yourself, and you’re the one who will get the most enjoyment out of it, but there’s still that nagging feeling in your mind, a hope that you’re not alone in your thinking. My husband and I at the moment have taken on a fairly small project in our house. We own a raised ranch (or bi-level if you talk with an architect), and the first thing you see as you enter the house is stairs. When we moved into our house four years ago we were greeted with white open riser stairs. Each tread had stenciled on it pink, blue and purple humming birds and butterflies. These were coupled with a white banister and a purple railing. Definitely not our style, but until now it wasn’t a project we were about to tackle.
Now we’re ready. We added risers, closing up the stairs, and painted them (gasp!) black. Yup, I sprayed the white banister gloss black, and then painted the stairs and the railing “black magic.” For the risers I decided to add pops of color, so every other riser is black, but in between I have (in succession) “willow tree” (a green), “chocolate turtle” (yellowish), and “amaretto” (a reddish orange?). A stark difference from the white and purple the previous owners enjoyed (immensely, as purple can be found all over our house!).
I didn’t like the style the previous owners enjoyed (seriously, we can tell that the family room at one time was painted hot pink before they covered it up quickly with white), and others may not like my style. Though I’m doing it for my house alone, there’s still that, “I hope others will like this” thought floating through my head.
Do you think that’s how God feels about us? After all, we are His creation. Each of us were made in His image, and He loves each and every one of us. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” (Gen 1:27) “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen 1:31a) Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” He created us all in His image, yet He created us all differently. We are not clones who all look and act the same. We have our own unique looks and personalities.
And He loves us! He didn’t make us for sport. He didn’t give some of us disabilities, deformities, etc, so that we can go through life being mocked. What He gave to us makes us special. He loves us, and He wants us to love Him. He also wants us to love each other, even if other people aren’t quite “our style.” He wants us to look beyond what we see, and appreciate the fact that He created everything. Every person who has walked on this earth, every living creature, all things in nature, God created them. That person you’re at odds with? His creation. That man you want nothing to do with? His creation. In the Bible we are constantly reminded of the “Golden Rule,” “Love each other as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12) If He loves us, how can we not love each other, hard as it may be?
Have you ever looked at a Bible’s concordance? Look up the word, “Love.” In the back of my Bible two full pages are dedicated to that word and its derivations. And I know not every verse is listed. Not only are we told to love God, but we’re told to love each other. “As I have loved you.” God is a painter, a sculptor, an architect. He has his own style and uses it for each one of us. Leviticus 19:18 tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies. So weather we like someone or not, we need to love them. Not for ourselves, but for God.
If we took great care to pick and choose the colors we want to paint with, or the plants we want to use in our yard, and so on, we would feel hurt if we were met with ridicule. So too God is hurt when we treat His creation that way. It doesn’t matter whether or not we like the way a person looks or acts. What matters is that God put thought into each one and loves them. And since God is perfect, everyone He makes is masterfully made.
Lord, I pray that you remind me always that each and every person I see in life was created by you. I want to love them as you do, even when it’s hard. Grant me the strength to look beyond my worldly views and truly see that all that you created is good; very good. In your name I pray.