“How Should We Think About Our Neighbors?” - Andy CrouchVideo / Produced by The High Calling
As we spend this week thinking about how we share our faith with the people in our workplaces, Andy's words of caution and affirmation might be worth keeping in mind. If we are going to share the way we see the world, we have to have a clear, consistent, and compassionate understanding of the people we share it with.
In his characteristically thoughtful way, Andy draws a fine distinction between how we as Christians see the world and two prevailing extremes of thought that, if we're not careful, will tend to pull us in their direction. We are, as he puts it, both potential image bearers and image breakers; we can be transformed into an image of God, or into a broken image of sin.
Does seeing our neighbors, whatever their faith, as a potential image of God change the way we act towards them? I think it has to, but I'm still working on what that might look like in my daily life. What would it look like in yours?
Transcript: Who do we believe our neighbors are fundamentally? Our society actually is not sure how to answer that question. One line of thought would be, "Well, we're actually just animals." There's another view that sort of reacts to the materialists view, which is a spiritualist view, which has said, "Well, deep down we're divine beings." The Christian view, the Biblical view, is different from both the materialists view and what you might call the spiritualists view. It's that we are made in the image of God. So we are creatures—we're made—but we bear an image, and it's not our own image. We have this potential of imaging the true God, but we also have the potential of making false images and becoming false images. So when I look at my neighbors, whatever their faith is, the first thing I can say about them is they're an image bearer. They potentially could bring into the world a reflection or a refraction of the true creator God. But, as a Christian, I also see that they and I are image breakers . . . that we are people who have broken the image of God and who now are responsible for the consequences of breaking the image of God. So this is a very dignified way to look at people I'm surrounded by . . . and a very sobering way. It doesn't take away their dignity the way that the materialists view does, but it doesn't exalt us to a place where we can't go on our own, which is the kind of divinized spiritual being either.
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