“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Has there ever been a more un-true statement? Ask any kid who’s been picked on by a bully at school, or any athlete that has been berated by a coach, or any spouse that has been belittled by her mate. They will tell you. Words hurt. And they hurt bad. Personally I would rather have the sticks and stones.
Now imagine that you are a part of a people group that has been subjugated for, oh say, 400 years. The culture around you worships a plethora of gods from the sun, moon and stars, to cattle, to crocodiles and everything in between, making your value to society at large, your worth as an individual, somewhere below the creepy-crawling things. Everything around you screams “Worthless, good-for-nothing, loser.” Your job day in and day out is to build the tombs of the Pharaohs. And then a guy named Moses dares to bring a spark of hope…
Some friends and I are beginning a journey through the book of Genesis. The whole book sets the stage for the story of man’s beginnings, his fall in the garden and God’s reckless pursuit of him to bring about his redemption. Yesterday we tackled chapter 1. I love chapter 1. It’s poetic in its symmetry, and I counted three primary takeaways: God is, God’s Word is magical/powerful, and man is God’s prized creation, created to rule the world in His behalf. But I think the most significant thing for me was the beautifully amazing fact that God created us in His image. Let that sink in… We have infinite value because we alone of all His creatures have been made in His image. So the next time you hear words that hurt, or the next time you are tempted to say words that hurt…remember that the imago dei, although tarnished through sin, is still what gives each of us inestimable worth. Enough that God was willing to send His only Son on a rescue mission that cost Him His life that He might lead the way back to God the Father.
Until next time…stay salty.