I’d like you to picture a little boy. This boy is constantly ignored by his parents. The times that he is not ignored, he is being hit by them. He is constantly told that he is no good. His parents do not honor him in any way or show him any love or affection in anyway. When this kid grows up, do you think he’ll carry any of that with him such that whenever he performs an action throughout the day, he’ll be thinking of that?
Picture a beautiful teenage girl. She meets a guy and she thinks this is the real deal so she goes on and sleeps with him. The guy has what he wants then and decides he’s going to dump her. The girl feels used and that she can’t truly bring satisfaction to a man. Do you think this will have an impact on her future relationships?
Picture the employee at his job. He wants to do good and be hard-working, but it seems that every time he does a project, his boss criticizes him and lets it be known that he could have definitely done better. Before too long, the employee doesn’t feel the need to try and grows lax in his work. Will this change his approach to future projects and/or jobs?
Chances are, most of us answered yes. I know we have this idea in our modern world of “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” You almost want to slap the moron every time who came up with that saying. In my reading about the honor society of the biblical times, this makes more sense.
When the Bible was being written, persecution by death wasn’t a huge problem for Christians. Nero was the first instigator, but many of Paul’s letters did not address that. They were talking about Christians suffering. What from? Loss of honor. The Christian community was not well accepted and was thus, in a sense, ostracized by the world.
This is what Hebrews is about. The writer is telling the listeners to endure. They will have their honor restored by God. Peter says the same thing in his epistles. The Christians are called to remember the truth to restore their honor. What is the truth. It is the truth about who they are.
How we act every day in the world in every situation will come out of who we are. One of my problems, for instance, is a lack of confidence. I even find it in my hobby of gaming. I often play Super Smash Brothers with my friends and I find myself hesitant to fight at times because I doubt my capability and then, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How you view yourself though will change how you handle a challenge. The person with a more positive self-image will start seeing this as an opportunity to soar and overcome and learn something greater or be better than they were. The other type will put the problem over them and feel threatened by it and fear that it cannot be overcome.
I believe this is one reason the Bible tells us to encourage one another. We need to be reminded of who we are in Christ. So who are we?
We are bearers of the image of God in Genesis 1.
In Psalm 8, we are the crown of creation.
In the Song of Songs, we are altogether beautiful.
In Luke 12:32, We’re the precious little flock.
In Romans 8, we’re the sons of God who will be conformed to his image.
In 1 John 3:1, we are children of God.
In 1 Cor. 12, we are the body of Christ.
In Ephesians 2, we are the ones raised up and seated in the heavenlies.
In 2 Peter 1, we are partakers of the divine nature
In 1 Peter 1, we are God’s elect.
If I kept going, there’s no telling how long this blog would be.
This is who we are. Those who are familiar with Scripture know that this is all throughout Scripture. Question! Why don’t we live like this? Answer! We don’t believe it. Let’s be honest. There is a degree where we are all atheistic in our living and denying the truth of God.
My suggestion? Let’s remind each other. I try to end conversations with friends now by reminding them of the truth of who they are. Now if you have a friend who isn’t a Christian, you naturally can’t tell him that he’s in Christ. However, you can tell them that they are a bearer of the image of God. That is a great compliment in himself.
Just remember, you are a bearer as well. Live up to the image of the one who made you.